Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., will retire rather than run against fellow North Carolina Democratic Rep.David Price in a new, merged district, according to a report in the Raleigh News & Observer.
Miller was first elected in 2002. North Carolina's Republican-controlled redistricting process put both Miller and Price in the same district, but Miller said Wednesday he didn't want to put the Democratic Party through a "divisive" primary.
An internal poll from the Price campaign showed Price 21 percentage points ahead of Miller in October. Miller and Price had taken light jabs at each other in the media. Miller had until Feb. 29 to officially file for the seat, but after speaking with supporters recently, Miller decided he couldn't got through with a primary against an old friend.
Miller played a strong role in drawing his current district as a member of the North Carolina state Senate, where he was chairman of the redistricting committee after the 2000 census. The new Democratic-leaning 4th District, in which Miller was contemplating a challenge to Price, reaches from Raleigh northwest to Durham and then takes a sharp turn south and snakes narrowly down to Fayetteville, its southern terminus. It cut away GOP-leaning areas of Miller's old constituency but also parts of his Wake County base, while leaving a little more of Price's old constituency intact.
Miller said he had hoped courts would overturn the redistricting plan, but a judicial panel ruled last week against pushing back North Carolina's primary, making that unlikely.
Miller's exit makes him the twelfth House Democrat to retire outright this year and the 30th member of Congress to announce he won't run for another term (Find our Congressional Departure List here).