By Beth Campbell
Davis had previously announced he would retire this year from Congress. He said in a statement issued Tuesday that a family health issue had developed recently that needs more of his time.
“As a result, I cannot continue to effectively fulfill my obligations to both my office and my family,” he said. “Family must and will come first.”
Davis, 53, is a fiscal and social conservative and has been in the House since 2005. His district stretches along the upper tier of Kentucky from the Louisville suburbs to the West Virginia border.
“I have served with great men and women in the Congress in both parties, and leave knowing that the House is filled with people who love this country and are working to make our future better,” Davis said. “I am grateful to have been blessed by being a part of this great institution.”
The statement said Davis submitted his resignation to Gov. Steve Beshear and House Speaker John Boehner.
Lynn Sowards Zellen, spokeswoman for the Kentucky secretary of state’s office, said the U.S. Constitution requires a special election be held to determine who will fill the seat.
Republican Thomas Massie and Democrat Bill Adkins are running to succeed Davis in November’s general election for Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District. The GOP holds both U.S. Senate seats in Kentucky and three of the state’s five other House seats.
“My wife, Rhonda, and I admire Congressman Davis’ family’s commitment to God, family and country and pray for a swift and complete recovery from their family health issue,” Massie said in a statement.
In a telephone interview Tuesday night, Adkins said he believed a special election would be required to choose a replacement for Davis until the next term begins in January. He said it would be “unfortunate” to have a special election so close to the regular election and said he wished Davis and his family well.
“I hope nothing is wrong,” Adkins said in a telephone interview Tuesday night.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky commended Davis’ years in office.
“He has accomplished much and has worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of Kentucky during his tenure,” McConnell said in a statement. “I wish him and his family well as he embarks on his new endeavor.”