FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky lawmaker known for his opposition to abortion and his advocacy for military issues resigned his House seat Tuesday, citing his belief in term limits.
State Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, submitted his resignation in a letter to Gov. Matt Bevin. The governor and Moore share socially conservative views, and Moore wielded influence as chairman of the House Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee.
"I have long believed in term limits as a worthy ideal of government service," Moore said in his letter. "Now, having served over 12 years in the Kentucky Legislature, it is time to apply that principle to myself."
His legislative district covers Grayson County and part of Hardin County. In his 2018 reelection, Moore defeated his Democratic challenger by a more than 2-to-1 margin.
Term limits surfaced as an issue in this year's race for Kentucky governor when Democratic nominee Andy Beshear embraced the idea as part of his ethics plan for state government.
Beshear's term-limits proposal calls for restricting state representatives to four consecutive terms and state senators to two terms — equaling eight years for members of both chambers.
Moore's resignation letter on Tuesday said he's transitioning into a Christian ministry role.
House Speaker David Osborne said Moore was an "integral member of the House Majority Caucus" and praised his tenure as a committee chairman.
"Under his leadership, we have moved Kentucky toward meeting the needs of our active duty and retired armed services and embracing military partnerships," Osborne said in a statement. "He is a man of deep faith. We understand that he has been led to a higher calling and wish him the absolute best in this next chapter."
Moore also reflected the legislature's increasingly anti-abortion views since Republicans took control of the House after the 2016 election to consolidate their power in the legislature.
Kentucky has been among several GOP-dominated states seeking to enact restrictions on abortions as conservatives take aim at the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Energized by new conservatives on the Supreme Court, abortion opponents in multiple states hope to ignite new legal battles that could prompt justices to revisit Roe v. Wade.
Bevin set a Nov. 5 special election to fill Moore's seat. That's the same date as Kentucky's election for governor and other statewide offices. Moore urged that the special election coincide with the general election to prevent "unnecessary additional polling cost" in his district.
Moore's departure creates a second vacancy in the 100-member House. Republican Rep. Diane St. Onge announced her resignation this summer to move to California. The special election in her northern Kentucky district is also set for Nov. 5.