Kootenay MP Abbott to retire

Jim Abbott, a Conservative MP from B.C.'s southern Interior, says he won't seek re-election after spending nearly two decades in office.

Jim Abbott has spent nearly two decades as a politician, but he won't run in the next election.

The Conservative MP from B.C.'s southern Interior was first elected to represent the Kootenay-East riding in 1993, and was subsequently elected five more times in the Kootenay-Columbia riding in 1997, 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2008, winning each election with a solid majority.

He was one of the original members of the Reform Party, which later became the Canadian Alliance, and then the Conservative Party of Canada.

Abbott said after years in public life, it's now time for him to focus on his family, but he's confident his party will remain popular in the riding long after he steps down.

"I feel very positive about the way that I'm leaving the riding because in the period of time that I've had the privilege of doing this job and communicating with people, people have bought into the whole concept of where the Conservative thought process is coming from," said Abbott.

"I really think that anybody who would be a successor to me will have a pretty great opportunity to be able to continue that legacy," he said.

There is no word yet on when the party will choose a successor to run in the riding.