WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. John Doolittle, a California Republican under scrutiny for his ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, announced Thursday he would not seek re-election.
“I plan to complete my term and finish my congressional service at the conclusion of this Congress,” Doolittle said in a speech Thursday, the text of which was posted on his House Web site. “This circumstance reminds me of a passage in the 2nd letter of St. Paul to Timothy; ‘The time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.’”
Doolittle was forced to relinquish his seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee earlier this year after the FBI raided his Virginia home. He has denied any guilt in the Abramoff scandal.
A former Doolittle colleague, ex-Ohio GOP Rep. Bob Ney, pleaded guilty for taking bribes from Abramoff, and is now serving time in prison.
Doolittle is the 19th Republican to declare he is leaving the House at the close of 110th Congress. Three other GOP House members have resigned, or announced their intention to resign, their congressional seats: Illinois Rep. Dennis Hastert retired early, Rep. Bobby Jindal was elected governor of Louisiana, and Mississippi Rep. Roger Wicker was appointed to Sen. Trent Lott’s open seat.
– CNN Political Editor Mark Preston