Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), a lead centrist Democrat and member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), said Monday she will not seek reelection in 2022.

Murphy is now the 22nd House Democrat to announce plans to not seek another term next year, with Republicans needing to flip just five seats to gain control of the lower chamber.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.)

“I’ve decided not to seek another term in Congress. Serving Central Florida has been the honor of my life, but it’s also been incredibly challenging for my family and me,” Murphy said in a Twitter post on Monday morning. “This was not an easy decision, but it is the right decision. Thank you for everything.”

Murphy was first elected to represent Florida’s 7th Congressional district in 2016, beating out 12-term incumbent GOP Rep. John Mica for the seat.

“I know this may come as a shock to many of you for someone to quote unquote ‘retire’ at my age from Congress – without scandal, without immediately seeking higher office, without fear of losing reelection or without some lucrative job opportunity. I recognize this is a very rare thing to do in Congress, but I still strongly believe in a citizen Congress where ordinary citizens run for office in search of duty and service not in search of a career. And I never intended my time in Congress to become a career,” Murphy said in a video detailing her decision. 

During this year’s HASC mark-up of the National Defense Authorization, Murphy was one of 14 Democrats on the panel to vote in favor of a GOP-led measure to boost the defense topline by $25 billion (Defense Daily, Sept. 1). 

Murphy, who worked at the Pentagon as a national security specialist before serving in Congress, is also the vice chair of HASC’s new Intelligence and Special Operations Subcommittee.

As a co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition of moderate and conservative House Democrats, Murphy joined the group in signing a letter over the summer urging support for maintaining steady defense spending and pushing back on progressive Democrats calls to reduce the military budget and redirect funds to domestic priorities (Defense Daily, June 28).