Virginia Republican Bob Goodlatte will not seek re-election
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (Facebook)

 U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said on Thursday he will not seek re-election next year.

"This is a natural stepping-off point," Goodlatte said in a statement. The announcement came on the heels of Tuesday's elections in Virginia, where Democrats won the governor's office and triumphed in local races in some Republican strongholds.

Goodlatte has represented Virginia's 6th congressional district for 25 years.

He joins a string of Republican lawmakers who have announced their retirements from Congress in recent weeks.

Two other House committee chairmen, Representatives Lamar Smith and Jeb Hensarling, both of Texas, said last week they would not seek re-election. Hensarling leads the House Financial Services Committee, while Smith leads the Science, Space and Technology panel.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)