Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush to retire after 30 years in Congress

Rush becomes the 24th Democrat to announce he will not run again this cycle
Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) circa 2016

Illinois Democrat Bobby Rush – the only politician to defeat Barack Obama in an election – is retiring after 30 years in the House, or, as he would say, "entering into a new level of my life."

Rush on Monday became the 24th House Democrat to announce he will not seek reelection this cycle. 

Rush told Politico that he is returning to his South Side Chicago church, where he will focus on his work as a pastor. He serves as the leader of the Beloved Community Church of God in Christ.

The longtime politician and onetime founder of the Illinois Black Panther Party will make his announcement official Tuesday at the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, where the funeral of 14-year-old Emmett Till was held in 1955.

Before his departure from the chamber, Rush hopes to see his Emmett Till Antilynching bill, which would designate lynching as a federal crime, into law.

On polls showing Democrats will likely lose their House majority in November, Rush says not to count out his home team.

"I don’t believe in Ouija boards, I don’t believe in forecasting the future – none of that. I think Democrats are in prime position to retake the house and increase their numbers in the Senate," the 75-year-old said.

Rush's seat, the state's 1st congressional district, which includes almost all of Chicago's South Side, will almost certainly remain in Democratic hands. However, his announcement will spur to action a large field of contenders vying for the seat that has belonged to Rush for three decades.