Moderate Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Gerlach to retire

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pennsylvania Rep. Jim Gerlach, one of a shrinking number of Republican moderates in the U.S. House, said Monday he will retire from Congress at the end of this term.

Gerlach said it's "simply time for me to move on to new challenges and to spend more time with my wife and family."

The six-term congressman's decision opens up a district anchored in Philadelphia's western suburbs and rural areas on either side of Reading, as well as a coveted seat on the powerful Ways and Means Committee. Gerlach has routinely had relatively close elections, though the latest round of redistricting made his seat more GOP-friendly.

Gerlach's plans aren't clear, though spokesman Kori Walter said Gerlach "is not running for any elected office in 2014."

In 2009, Gerlach sought his party's primary nomination for governor against Tom Corbett, but he dropped that bid and went on to win re-election twice.

Gerlach's term will end in early January 2015. He said that he'll keep working with his staff this year to deliver services to the residents of his district.