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GOP Rep. ‘Buck’ McKeon of Santa Clarita to step down after 11 terms

Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) is Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
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A source close to Republican Congressman Howard "Buck " McKeon of Santa Clarita confirmed to KPCC that he will announce Thursday that he will not seek re-election this year.

The 75-year-old McKeon is serving his 11th term in Congress and is chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee.

McKeon's retirement paves the way for two Republicans who already said they'd run should the veteran Congressman step down.

Republican former State Senator Tony Strickland has filed his intentions with the Federal Election Commission. Strickland ran for Congress last year, but lost to Democrat Julia Brownley in a newly drawn district in Ventura. 

Republican State Senator Steve Knight was also waiting for McKeon's decision. Knight's campaign insists he’d be the front runner, since he already represents a “large part” of the district in the state legislature.  Knight touts endorsements from L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich and Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy. He’s an 18-year veteran of the L.A. Police Department and the son of a state senator.

The 25th Congressional district is 40 percent Republican. In last year’s primary, a trio of GOP candidates – led by McKeon – won 70 percent of the votes.

McKeon is expected to make it official at a Capitol Hill press conference Thursday.