Rep. David Obey, Appropriations Chairman, To Retire : The Two-Way Powerful Democratic Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin is planning to retire at the end of his current term, NPR's Andrea Seabrook and the Associated Press are reporting.

Rep. David Obey, Appropriations Chairman, To Retire

Obey in 2007. (Win McNamee/Getty Images) hide caption

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Obey in 2007. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Powerful Democratic Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin is planning to retire at the end of his current term, NPR's Andrea Seabrook and the Associated Press are reporting.

Obey chairs the Committee on Appropriations, and was first elected to Congress in 1969.

He's expected to make the news official at 1 p.m. ET.

Update at 12:45 p.m. ET. The AP now adds that:

Obey, among a handful of veteran House Democrats who had been bracing for competitive races this fall, has routinely won re-election easily despite representing a competitive district. He won in 2008 with 61 percent of the vote. But he has never faced the level of competition as he does this year as voters sour on Washington.

Sean Duffy, 38, a Republican district attorney, is seen as the favored candidate in the GOP primary, and his candidacy has attracted the backing of Republicans in Washington as well as the party's 2008 vice president nominee, Sarah Palin, and tea party activists.