Rep. Bill Owens (D., N.Y.) announced on Tuesday that he will be retiring at the end of his term, thus avoiding a reelection battle against former Bush White House staffer Elise Stefanik.
The Hill reports that the decision not to run for reelection may have been influenced by sinking confidence and low fundraising totals so far this cycle.
New York’s 21st District is a swing district first won by Owens in a 2009 special election. The Democrat won his last election with less than 50 percent of the vote. He had raised just over half a million for his reelection fight at the close of the last quarter, and was facing a challenge from former Bush White House staffer Elise Stefanik, among other Republicans.
The retirement opens up another competitive House seat that Republicans can take in 2014.
Election prognosticator Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball immediately changed its rating for the seat from “Leans D” to “Toss-up” following the announcement.
Stefanik worked in the George W. Bush White House from 2006 to 2009, where she oversaw policy development on all economic and domestic policy issues.