Florida Republican congressman Bill Young to retire

Longtime Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., said Wednesday he would retire in 2014, giving Democrats an opportunity to pick up a seat that’s vexed them for years.

Young, 82, had previously waved off speculation each cycle that he would retire, but told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday he would not seek a 23rd term, citing not just health problems but a growing frustration with gridlock in Congress.

“I’m a little disappointed. It seems there’s too much politics. It’s a different Congress,” said the 43-year House veteran.

Young, a longtime appropriator, also has been one of about 20 House Republicans who have said they would back a clean continuing resolution to re-open the government in the current budget fight in Washington.

For Democrats, Young has long been a target they haven’t been able to defeat, but an open seat in the district provides a strong opportunity. The Tampa Bay districts broke for President Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Attorney and former congressional aide Jessica Ehrlich was gearing up for a rematch in 2014, after losing last year to Young by 15 points — but holding him to 57%, his lowest re-election total ever.

Florida Republican congressman Bill Young to retire