Politics

U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield announced Tuesday that he will not run for re-election in 2016.

Whitfield is in his 11th term representing western and southern Kentucky.

Whitfield’s longtime District Director Michael Pape tells WKMS News he will be seeking the Republican nomination to fill the seat.

Pape, 47, said he has been with the administration “since day one,” when Whitfield took office in 1994.

Pape said a recent ethic investigation of Whitfield did not factor into the congressman’s decision to not run again. In addition to the ethics inquiry, Whitefield was at the center of a report last year by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting on Whitfield’s financial ties to a lobbyist.

On Monday, Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Agriculture James Comer might be interested in running for Whitfield’s seat “if it ever comes available.”

Comer ran unsuccessfully this year for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, losing to Matt Bevin by 83 votes.

In his statement Tuesday, Whitfield touted his work on establishing the Federal Health Benefits Program for Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant employees and helping to secure funding for Fort Campbell.

“While many Americans are frustrated with the institution of Congress, I still believe that politics is a worthy vocation and I know many men and women of character will always be willing to serve,” Whitfield said.