"I believe the time has come to pass the torch to the next generation," Doyle said in an announcement on Monday at a press conference in his South Side office and released this afternoon in a press release.
Among the reasons for not seeking re-election, Doyle said the pandemic has accelerated his plans for retirement and noted that redistricting means a "good transition time for a new member to start in a newly drawn district."
Born in Swissvale, he graduated from Penn State University in 1975 and worked in the steel mills during the summers while in college. He was once a registered Republican, but switched parties in the 1980s, like his former boss, state Sen. Frank Pecora. In 1995, he took over what was Rick Santorum’s district, and held it ever since.
Pennsylvania is set to lose one of its Congressional districts and will have a total of 17 after redrawing. The state has yet to submit the redrawing of its districts after the 2020 Census, but it's likely the Pittsburgh area will maintain at least one solidly Democratic district.
Doyle’s retirement opens up what is likely to be a crowded and competitive Democratic Primary field. Hours before Doyle’s announcement, Pa. State Rep. Summer Lee (D-Swissvale) filed a statement of candidacy for the seat. Lee has not yet formally made an announcement.
She joins University of Pittsburgh law professor Jerry Dickinson, who announced his run several months ago.
“From the start of this campaign one thing has been clear: Pittsburgh is ready for a new direction,” Dickinson said in a statement sent to Pittsburgh City Paper. “I’m not a career politician, and I’m not running for Congress just to rise through the political ranks or to advance my career.”
Dickinson thanked Doyle for his service to the country and the region. “For 26 years, he has represented Western Pennsylvania with dignity and advocated passionately for our communities in Washington,” he wrote in the statement. But, he also noted that Doyle’s announcement “comes on the heels of the second straight fundraising quarter" where he was outraised by Dickinson. Dickinson states that his campaign has raised over $330,000 — 100% of which came from individual contributors.