Rep. Ed Towns (D-N.Y.) will not run for reelection this fall, Politico reported Sunday evening.

Towns, who has held his seat since 1983 and once served as the chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, faced a competitive primary in June against fellow Democrats Hakeem Jeffries and Charles Barron.

Leading up to Sunday's announcement, the Brooklyn-based congressman showed little interest in kicking off a reelection campaign. While his rivals -- particularly Jeffries, a New York state assemblyman who had already begun to rack up key union endorsements -- hit the ground running, Towns seemed reluctant to launch a campaign. As the Observer reported, the congressman had also raised suspicions by skipping Democratic groups' endorsement meetings, canceling a sit-down with local reporters and having a very small online campaign presence.

Despite these warning signs, the news may still come as a surprise to Towns' challengers. Towns' re-election campaign raised upwards of $200,000 in the final quarter of 2011, and his opponents expected him to make a late push to retain his seat.

"We expect Towns not to go to sleep," Barron, a New York City councilman who lost to Towns by eight points in 2006 said of the incumbent earlier this month. "He’s going to be out there heavy and strong probably in the last four to five weeks."

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