WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Long-time Illinois Democratic Congressman Jerry Costello said on Tuesday he will not be running for re-election in 2012 from his district in the southwestern corner of the state.
"It has been a privilege and an honor to serve in the U.S. Congress for the past 23 years," Costello, 62, said in a statement.
"However, I said when I was elected in 1988 and many times since that I did not intend to stay in Congress forever as I had other interests that I wanted to pursue."
President Barack Obama said Costello had "proudly represented" southwestern and southern Illinois, and called him "a fierce advocate for improving our nation's transportation infrastructure," according to a White House release.
Costello serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, as well as the Science, Space and Technology Committee, and was the senior Democrat on the Aviation Subcommittee.
Multi-term incumbents generally have an advantage in elections, and Costello's decision not to run again could make it more difficult for the Democratic Party to retain his 12th District seat in 2012.
Costello's district has been slightly redrawn by Illinois' Democratic legislature but it voted for Republican Senator Mark Kirk and Republican Governor candidate Bill Brady in 2010. Republicans are expected to make a strong bit for the seat now that Costello has resigned.
Costello is the latest of several incumbent Democrats in swing districts who have announced their retirement before the 2012 Congressional elections.
(Reporting by Jerry Norton; Editing by Greg McCune)