By David Madden

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) – The decision by 12 term Republican Congressman Frank LoBiondo not to run for re-election next year is likely to shake up the political scene down the shore.

Sources suggest LoBiondo had made the decision to retire last month, but kept it quiet until now. He pointed to term limits as chair of two key house committees as his main reason for stepping aside and insisted in a statement he could have easily won a 13th term if he wanted it.

But that statement also pointed to the bitter partisan squabbling on Capitol Hill on both sides of the aisle, stymieing efforts to get things done. And it was clear Democratic Party operatives on the national level were targeting the seat in 2018.

So what’s next? Expect re-elected Cape May County senator Jeff Van Drew to jump in on the Democratic side and he probably won’t be alone in next June’s primary. On the republican side, it’s an open issue for now. But look for this congressional race to be big, as Democrats try to regain a seat they held for decades, before LoBiondo came along.

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