Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank announced Monday he will not seek re-election in 2012.
First elected in 1980, the 71-year-old Congressman served 16 terms in the House and is one of the first lawmakers to announce he is gay.
According to the National Journal, redistricting is one of the main reasons for his decision.
“I was planning to run again and then the congressional redistricting came. And this decision was precipitated by congressional redistricting, not entirely caused by it,” he said in Newton, Massachusetts Monday.
The National Journal adds:
Frank had indicated earlier this year he would seek reelection to his House seat, amid speculation that he would run for the Senate against Republican Scott Brown. He won a closer-than-expected re-election bid in 2010, taking 53 percent of the vote against Republican Sean Bielat, his lowest total since first winning his Newton- and Tauton-based district in 1980.
In redistricting, the new lines of the Massachusetts map kept his seat solidly Democratic but Frank lost several Democratic strongholds near his home in the process — including the blue-collar town of New Bedford, where he spent time working on constituent services.
The Boston Globe reported:
The Newton Democrat faced the prospect of a bruising reelection campaign next year after surviving a brutal battle in 2010. He also would have run in an altered district that retained his Newton stronghold but encompassed more conservative towns like Walpole.
In addition, Frank lost New Bedford, a blue-collar city where he had invested a lot of time and become a leading figure in the region’s fisheries debate.
“It would have been a rough campaign,” Frank admitted, saying he doesn’t like to raise money.
Campaign manager Kevin Sowyrda told the Globe Frank wanted to hold off making a decision until redistricitng was finished.
“When Barney saw the district changed, his exact words to me were ‘They didn’t do me any favors,’” he said, adding that the final plan was “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“I think if they left the district with New Bedford in it, you would see him running again,” he said.
The Globe also noted that Massachusetts Republicans celebrated the announcement.
“It is clear that Congressman Frank was not looking forward to another hard-fought campaign after losing his gerrymandered district and spending nearly every penny he had in 2010. Republicans were already gearing up for a strong race, and Frank’s sudden retirement injects added optimism and excitement into the election,” said party Executive Director Nate Little.”
Saying he intends to pursue “some combination of writing, teaching, and lecturing,” Frank said he would “neither be a lobbyist nor a historian” – a clear dig at GOP Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
The Blaze notes:
More than two decades ago, Frank was reprimanded by the House for using his congressional status on behalf of a male prostitute whom he had employed as a personal aide, including seeking dismissal of 33 parking tickets.
“I should have known better. I do now, but it’s a little too late,” Frank said at the time.
According to National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, the announcement means Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who has been investigated for ethics violations during the housing crisis, would become the new ranking member of the banking committee.
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