FRANKFORT — Veteran Democratic state Rep. Jesse Crenshaw of Lexington said Monday he won't seek re-election next year, creating instant interest in replacing him in the legislature.
"I will not be running for re-election," said Crenshaw, an attorney who has been a member of the House since 1993.
Crenshaw, 67, will finish his 22nd year representing the 77th House District when his 11th term expires at the end of 2014.
"I had planned to serve 20 years," he said. "I was persuaded by friends of mine to serve two years longer. That's long enough for me."
Crenshaw said he would support the candidacy of Democrat J. Michael Haskins to replace him in the House.
Haskins, 57, a Fayette County magistrate, filed Friday to run in the race. He said Monday that he wanted to help Gov. Steve Beshear bring more jobs to Kentucky and would continue Crenshaw's longtime push, if it is not successful during the 2014 General Assembly, to restore voting rights to nonviolent felons.
Haskins is a former president of the Georgetown Neighborhood Association and current president of the Arbor Homeowners Association.
Chris Ford, a member of the Urban County Council in Lexington since January 2011, said Monday that he "definitely" was interested in replacing Crenshaw.
Ford, 37, recently filed to run for re-election to the council next year. He said he would talk with his family and friends about pursuing the House seat.
The 77th House District primarily covers north Lexington along Georgetown Road and many of the neighborhoods between downtown and Loudon Avenue.
It is mainly Democratic in party registration. As of September, the secretary of state's office reported that the district had 18,343 Democrats, 6,579 Republicans and 2,806 other party registrations.
During his tenure as a state lawmaker, Crenshaw has advocated for civil rights, pushing diversity efforts and restoration of voting rights to nonviolent felons who have served their time.
He also has been instrumental in developing budgets for the state judicial branch and securing money for road projects in Lexington, including the widening of Leestown Road from New Circle Road to the Masterson Station development and the extension of Citation Boulevard.
"In the 30-plus years I've served in the General Assembly, I don't know of any more dedicated legislator than Jesse Crenshaw," said House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg. "He certainly will be missed.
"Jesse is one of those rare individuals that I don't ever remember anybody saying a bad word about up here."
Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.