Republican U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis of Kentucky resigned Tuesday, citing a family health issue.
Davis had previously announced he would retire this year from Congress. He said in a statement issued Tuesday that a family health issue had developed recently that needs more of his time.
âAs a result, I cannot continue to effectively fulfill my obligations to both my office and my family,â he said. âFamily must and will come first.â
Davis, 53, is a fiscal and social conservative and has been in the House since 2005. His 4th District stretches along the upper tier of Kentucky from the Louisville suburbs to the West Virginia border.
âI have served with great men and women in the Congress in both parties, and leave knowing that the House is filled with people who love this country and are working to make our future better,â Davis said. âI am grateful to have been blessed by being a part of this great institution.â
The statement said Davis submitted his resignation to Gov. Steve Beshear and House Speaker John Boehner.
Lynn Sowards Zellen, spokeswoman for the Kentucky secretary of stateâs office, said the U.S. Constitution requires that a special election be held to determine who will fill the seat.
Republican Thomas Massie and Democrat Bill Adkins are running to succeed Davis in Novemberâs general election. The GOP holds both U.S. Senate seats in Kentucky and three of the stateâs five other House seats.
âMy wife, Rhonda, and I admire Congressman Davisâ familyâs commitment to God, family and country and pray for a swift and complete recovery from their family health issue,â Massie said in a statement.
In a telephone interview Tuesday night, Adkins said it would be âunfortunateâ to have a special election so close to the regular election and said he wished Davis and his family well.
âI hope nothing is wrong,â Adkins said.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky commended Davisâ years in office.
âHe has accomplished much and has worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of Kentucky during his tenure,â McConnell said in a statement. âI wish him and his family well as he embarks on his new endeavor.â
Davisâ statement doesnât specify the nature of the health issue. Davis first talked in June to 4th District GOP chairman Kevin Sell about resigning before the end of the year, Sell said. Sell said Davis at the time assured him that he and his family will be fine. He said he doesnât know the details of the health issue Davis referred to.
âIt has been a very personal decision for him, between him and his wife, Pat, and his children,â Sell said.
The Cincinnati Enquirer contributed to this story.