JUNEAU (AP) -- Fairbanks Democrat Tom Brice will not seek a fifth term in the House, but his last-minute exit apparently paved the way for one of his aides to take over his seat without opposition.
Brice announced the decision just a few hours before Thursday's deadline to file for re-election.
''It was a decision I made when I first ran,'' Brice said. ''I would serve six to eight years and then step out and let somebody else come in.''
Brice's late decision not to run apparently caught potential Republican candidates by surprise. Democrat Joe Hayes, a longtime Brice aide, was the only candidate to file for the seat.
Brice, 35, was first elected in 1992 at the age of 27 and was the Legislature's youngest member until Bethel Democrat Mary Kapsner was elected in 1998.
Brice was an outspoken advocate for organized labor, children and the disabled. He served on both the Labor and Commerce Committee and the Health, Education and Social Services Committee.
''I've really enjoyed working with developmental disability issues and child abuse and neglect issues,'' Brice said. ''I was lucky enough to be working when those issues were coming to the top of the public policy pond.''
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