WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. William Delahunt will not seek an eighth term in Congress, ending a career that has spanned 40 years and making him the second Democrat in two days to make such a decision.
On Thursday, freshman Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) cited health issues for not seeking a send term.
Delahunt is one of 17 Democratic congressmen who will not seek re-election in 2010.
The 68-year-old congressman said the decision is not politically based. He had been considering retirement from the House for several years, but the late Sen. Edward Kennedy talked him into staying to help President Obama with this first-term agenda.
"It's got nothing to do with politics," Delahunt said. "I've been wrestling with this decision for awhile…Life is about change. I think it's healthy. It's time," he said.
Delahunt also said his retirement has nothing to do with recent criticism over his handling of the 1968 shooting in which University of Alabama professor Amy Bishop killed her brother.
At the time, Delahunt was serving as Norfolk's district attorney and went along with local and state police who said the shooting was accidental.
According to Delahunt, his office had no knowledge that Bishop fled the scene with a loaded gun after shooting her brother.
Republican State Rep. Jeffrey Davis Perry, who had planned to challenge Delahunt in the upcoming campaign, said U.S. Sen. Scott Brown's sweeping victory to fill the seat of the late Sen. Kennedy may have influenced his decision.
Brown won 60 percent of the vote in Delahunt's congressional district, which includes Cape Cod and the South Shore.
"I wish him well," Perry said, "and I am certainly glad that he's not in the race."
Massachusetts Republicans were encouraged by Scott's victory in the traditionally liberal state where Democratic voters outnumber their Republican counterparts three to one.
AP contributed to this report.