Bobby Rush, The Only Person To Defeat Barack Obama, To Retire After 30 Years In Congress

Bobby Rush, The Only Person To Defeat Barack Obama, To Retire After 30 Years In Congress

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), the only person to win an election against Barack Obama, is expected to announce Tuesday that he will retire after his 15th term in Congress.

Rush, 75, a longtime civil rights activist, told the Chicago Sun-Times he made the decision in recent weeks. His grandson also played a part in his decision.

“I don’t want my grandchildren…to know me from a television news clip or something they read in a newspaper,” Rush told the newspaper. “I want them to know me on an intimate level, know something about me and I want to know something about them. I don’t want to be a historical figure to my grandchildren.”

Rush, an ordained minister, added that he plans to remain active in his church and work to inspire young people through his experiences. According to NBC News, Rush has represented the 1st Congressional District in Chicago since 1993. He previously served as an alderman and a co-founder of the Illinois Black Panther Party.

Rush’s retirement makes him the 24th House Democrat not to seek reelection this year. The retirements could have a significantly negative effect on Democrats, who are still fighting to pass much of President Joe Biden’s agenda but are being stalled by members of its own party.

The party in the White House typically loses seats during the midterm elections. That means the GOP could take control of the House and Senate, which will basically set Biden’s agenda on fire.

Some House members are leaving because redistricting made it harder to keep their seats. Others are discouraged by partisan politics and are seeking seats in state elections or the Senate.

Rush bested Obama in a congressional primary in 2000. This year, Rush was facing primary challenges from several Democrats for his seat, including activist Jahmal Cole and pastor Chris Butler.