WASHINGTON - Republican Rep. Steven LaTourette of Ohio, a nine-term lawmaker and a close confidant of House Speaker John Boehner, has decided not to seek re-election.
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett said Monday night that LaTourette had told him that he wouldn't be a candidate in November.
"Steve has been a good congressman in a tough district," Bennett said. "He obviously has been able to work with people across the aisle." He wouldn't comment on LaTourette's reasons for not running again.
LaTourette scheduled a news conference for today at his district office in Painesville, his spokeswoman Deborah Setliff said. She had no further comment.
Trumbull County Republican Party chairwoman Kathi Creed said LaTourette called her Wednesday with the unexpected news.
''I was surprised. I was disappointed,'' said Creed, who said she believes LaTourette is a good congressman.
''I didn't agree with everything, but rarely do we agree with everything,'' she said.
The Columbus Dispatch, which first reported the news, said LaTourette decided to retire over a dispute with leadership on committee assignments.
LaTourette was elected to Congress during the GOP wave in 1994 when the party seized control of the House after decades in the minority. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
His retirement comes just three months before the congressional elections. The cutoff date for the party to put a Republican candidate on the ballot is Aug. 8. LaTourette could announce his intention to retire but delay official notification until then. That would allow the GOP to avoid a special election and choose a replacement candidate.
Creed said the party chairs and secretaries from each of the counties in LaTourette's district will determine a replacement on the ballot. A conference call among them is set for today, she said.
The Democrat running in the race is Dale Virgil Blanchard of Solon. Also running are David Macko of Solon, Libertarian Party and Green Party candidate Elaine R. Mastromatteo of Bristol.
LaTourette won the district with 65 percent of the vote in 2010. The district narrowly went for John McCain in the 2008 presidential race.
LaTourette joins more than three dozen House members who have decided not to seek another term or pursue another office. Forty-three Republicans and Democrats have decided to leave the House, and nine lawmakers have lost in primaries.