Democratic Congressman McDermott announces retirement

Longtime Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington state is retiring.

He announced Monday he won't seek a 15th term. McDermott was first elected in 1988 and is the longest-serving member of the state's congressional delegation.

"I retire from the House forever humbled," McDermott told reporters.

The 78-year-old is a former Navy psychiatrist known for his liberal views and criticism of the Iraq war. He is a senior member of the tax-policy-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

One of the few physicians in Congress, McDermott also has focused on health care issues and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

His 7th Congressional District includes most of Seattle and some surrounding suburbs.

Democratic state Rep. Brady Walkinshaw last month announced he was challenging McDermott. Walkinshaw said he respected McDermott's service but thought the area was ready for a change.

McDermott has drawn attention, not always positive, for sparring with Republicans. He was involved in a long-running legal battle with former Rep. John Boehner, who would go on to become speaker, after leaking an illegally recorded phone call with Boehner and other GOP leaders. McDermott wound up paying Boehner more than $1 million in damages under a court order, but insisted he was defending the First Amendment.

In 2002, Republicans labeled McDermott "Baghdad Jim" for comments he made during a trip to Baghdad. He said Bush "would mislead the American people" but Saddam Hussein could be trusted.

McDermott becomes the 31st House member to announce plans to retire or seek other office. He has been re-elected by wide margins, and his seat is certain to stay in Democratic hands.