Barney Frank - a 16-term Congressman from Massachusetts and one of the more outspoken politicians of his time - announced yesterday that he will not seek reelection in 2012.
Citing a new redistricting map that will include many people he has never represented, along with a desire to do other things in life, the 71-year old surprised many at a press conference in Newton, MA on Monday, saying at one point:
"I think I would have won but it would have been a tough campaign. I hate raising money."
One of the more polarizing figures in Washington, Frank became the first openly gay man to serve in Congress. He's been at the center of support and controversy recently, due to his Dodd-Frank law and his pre-crisis support for government housing agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."The anger in the country... is such that the kind of inside work I felt best at is not going to be productive in the foreseeable future," Frank said yesterday, referring to a "substantially deteriorated" political climate.
"The House of Representatives will not be the same without him," President Obama said upon learning the news, while Republicans are excited about an open seat in 2012.
"It's not an encouraging sign for House Democrats when a senior member sees little chance of becoming a committee chairman," said Paul Lindsay, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.