Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts fourth Congressional District has said he will not seek re-election for 2012.
Frank, a ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, planned to hold a press conference in Newton, Mass. on Monday afternoon, to formally announce and answer questions on the decision.
His Fourth District falls mostly in southern Massachusetts but also includes the famously liberal Boston suburbs of Newton and Brookline. Under a new redistricting plan that Gov. Deval Patrick, a fellow Democrat, signed into law last week, Mr. Frank’s district would have lost heavily Democratic city of New Bedford and gained some more conservative towns.
In February, Mr. Frank announced that he would seek re-election in 2012.
“When Barney saw the district changed, his exact words to me were ‘They didn’t do me any favors,’” said [his last campaign manager Kevin] Sowyrda, who has remained an unofficial adviser.
“The redistricting plan was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” added Sowyrda. “I think if they left the district with New Bedford in it, you would see him running again.
A long line of potential Democratic successors will be looking at running, including Newton mayor Setti Warren, who dropped out of the Senate race earlier this year, state Rep. James Vallee, and state Sens. Marc Pacheco, Mike Rodrigues and James Timilty. Among Republicans, Bielat hasn’t ruled out running again. And state Rep. Jay Barrows and former Hopkinton selectman Brian Herr would also be possible GOP contenders.
Frank is the ninth House Democrat to retire outright, without seeking higher office. A total of 16 House Democrats aren’t running for re-election next year.
He’ll be 72 when he’s out, having served since 1981. Predictions are he’ll then become Professor Frank. The news conference is scheduled for 1 PM ET in Newton.