Rep. Neal announces retirement in House District 44

After serving in the House since a 1999 special election, Lancaster County Democratic State Rep. Jimmy Neal decided that he would not seek a new term this year. Neal's announcement came two days after Heath Springs businessman Joseph Coy said he would seek the GOP nomination for the seat.

In 2010, Neal faced a surprisingly strong challenge by a Republican in an election year that saw his county side with GOP Congressman Mick Mulvaney, coming in well under the sixty percent mark which is considered safe for an incumbent. This drew speculation that several Republicans would be gunning for the seat in 2012.

Democrats are also reportedly seeking a candidate for the seat. Given the seat's long Democratic history, it would be a major embarassment for them to let the seat go without a fight.

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