January 12th, 2009
11:07 AM ET
9 years ago

Sen. Voinovich announces retirement

Voinovich will announce his retirement later Monday.

Voinovich will announce his retirement later Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Ohio Sen. George Voinovich announced Monday that he will not seek a third term in 2010.

"After the next two years, it will be time to give someone else the opportunity to serve our great state in the Senate, someone who can devote full time to organizing their campaign and raising the money necessary to win," he said in a written statement.

The 72-year-old senator and former Ohio governor has been contemplating retirement for some time, but made his decision this weekend in Florida, where he was joined by his wife, children and grandchildren, a source close to the senator told CNN.

Voinovich is the fourth Republican senator whose term will expire at the end of 2010 to announce his intention to retire. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Missouri, said late last week that we will retire, joining Sens. Mel Martinez of Florida and Sam Brownback of Kansas who had already announced they will leave Capitol Hill when their terms end at the close of the 111th Congress.

Republicans must defend 15 incumbents and four open seats next year. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, whose term expires in 2012, is seriously considering a 2010 gubernatorial bid and could also be vacating her seat.

Meanwhile, Democrats have to defend 15 incumbents and two seats for which special elections are expected to be held. In Delaware, a special election will be scheduled for Vice President-elect Joe Biden's seat and New York will hold one if Sen. Hillary Clinton is confirmed as the next secretary of state.

- CNN's Dana Bash, Ed Henry, and Mark Preston contributed to this report.

Voinovich's full remarks after the jump

After prayerful consideration and much thought, my wife Janet and I have decided that I will not seek a third term in the United States Senate.

As I spent time with my family during the holidays and celebrated Janet’s birthday, I reflected on God’s blessings on our family: my wife, our three children, our seven grandchildren and our health.

I also spent time thinking about the health of our country. In my lifetime of public service, I have never seen the country in such perilous circumstances. Not since the Great Depression and the Second World War have we been confronted with such challenges, as a nation and as a world.

Those of us that have been given the honor to serve in these times must step up to the plate and put this country on a course that will see it through these harrowing times and make it strong and viable for the 21st century.

These next two years in office, for me, will be the most important years that I have served in my entire political career.

I must devote my full time, energy and focus to the job I was elected to do, the job in front of me, which seeking a third term – with the money-raising and campaigning that it would require – would not allow me to do.

In addition, Janet and I have concluded that once my second term is complete, we should devote ourselves to our children and grandchildren. We have been blessed with good health, but we’re no spring chickens. In 2010, I will be 74 years old and will have served 44 years in public office, having been elected to more public offices than any other person in Ohio history.

I am grateful for the opportunity that I have had to serve my statehouse district, my county, city, state and nation and feel good about the fact that with the help of some extraordinary people, many of whom are no longer with us, I have made a difference and will, with God’s help and a great team in my Senate office, continue to make a difference during these next two critical years. We intend not to wind down—but to wind up, just like I did in the Mayor’s office as well as the Governor’s office.

We have a great deal to do in this Congress, and I will continue to focus on the areas that matter most: providing the nation a responsible stimulus package; jump-starting our credit markets; re-establishing confidence in the housing market and stemming the tide on mortgage foreclosures; harmonizing our nation’s economic, energy and environmental policies; ensuring safe and stable highways; and continuing to improve the personnel and management of the federal government.

After the next two years, it will be time to give someone else the opportunity to serve our great state in the Senate, someone who can devote full time to organizing their campaign and raising the money necessary to win.

This has not been an easy decision for us. I still have the fire in my belly to do the work of our nation, but after serving the next two years, it will be time to step back and spend the rest of our time with our children and grandchildren, siblings and extended family and friends.

We both are confident that God has a plan for us to use the time, energy and talents that He has given us to make a difference in another way.

Filed under: George Voinovich
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Michael, Houston Texas

    Better get you act together Repubs or else we will have an all Democrat Senate and House, which is never good because we will lose our checks and balances.

    January 12, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. ran

    If theses guys can not be in complete control then they want to take the ball and go home and I am all for it. Maybe we the people will start getting elected officials who are more concern with doing for the people and not for power/special interest/ideologies. I believe we need term limits on all elected officials anyway.

    January 12, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. Mari

    Another one bails! Interesting how many Republicans have decided not to run for reelection, I guess they are sensing what we all have known...... our Nation will no longer tolerate the vile politics of the far-right.

    January 12, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. Marilyn

    That's okay. After a couple of years of Obama and a Democratic congress messing things up even more, the Republicans will take control back in 2010 anyway. I'm not a Republican, but I know I will never vote for a Democrat again. I'm a conservative Independent from now on.

    January 12, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  5. Trisher

    One of Dubya's Yes men. Speaking for all Ohioians, GOOD RIDDANCE. 2010 can't come soon enough.

    January 12, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  6. chuck


    January 12, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  7. Kathy_in _Indiana

    "lose our checks and balances" Michael from Houston Texas writes –

    So let me get this straight. It's ok to have the Congress totally in control when it's in control by the party who you voted for? But when it's the other side – wow – panic - we need checks and balances....

    Checks and balances didn't do dittly sqat for this country. The Republicans and George Bush have almost totally destroyed it. It'll take years to repair the harm that the Republican and Bush have caused – years. I'm so glad to see them go. Just wish they could have taken a bunch more with them...

    January 12, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. Aaron from Ohio

    Voinovich won't be the last republican senator to announce that they won't be seeking re-election. Their brand has taken a beating the last two elections. They have seen their base contract to basically white evangelicals and they've lost the moderates and independents. My guess is that they'll turn even further to the right and get pounded again in the 2010 elections before they finally realize that most Americans disapprove of the direction they have chosen. They need to turn away from people like Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber and return to their fundamentals. They used to represent small government, fiscal responsibility and wanted Washington to stay out of mixing politics with religion. If they can't reinvent themselves, they'll have about as much appeal as a Grand Dragon would at an NAACP meeting.

    January 12, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. francisco

    This country need new young blood to run the country. The old timer Republicans and Democrats need to step aside.

    January 12, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  10. Marc

    Michael, Houston Texas – January 12th, 2009 11:13 am ET
    What is your opinion about that time between 2001-2007 when the president was Republican and there was a Republican majority ruled Senate and House? Please consider in your answer that, by your own standards, there wasn't the checks and balances working on at the time...

    January 12, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  11. Apples for sale

    How many freezers did he buy?

    January 12, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. commie mommie

    OOH OOH, Ohio has a Democratic Gov (Strickland), is it too much for me to ask for Voinovich to resign so that I can put some earnest money down for his seat? That is how the demo-rats do it, right?

    January 12, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. Mick in Mesa

    One more down, only 39 to go...

    January 12, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. lovable liberal

    Can we dare to hope for better Republicans than the extremists who have dominated the GOP for the past 20 years?


    The Republican Party is determined to be so extreme that it will lose all role in government. What America needs is a responsible center-right party to replace it.

    January 12, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. Jackie in Dallas

    Actually, reading his complete comments, while I don't know the man or his record, I think he is bowing out with grace. He is wise enough to realize that resolving the issues facing this country will require his full-time attention (regardless of whether he played a part in them BECOMING problems), and that would be seriously impaired if he were campaigning. In my mind, that's a good decision.

    As for the rest of the comments on here, they don't appear to have much relevance to the actual story...they are just spouting political rhetoric. I'm a conservative Independent myself, but I voted for President Elect Obama, and am now willing to give him time to actually be sworn in and implement some of his policies, and see how he fares, before I start criticizing him. I urge everyone else to do the same. We have got to stop using labels such as Democrat or Republican, moderate-liberal-conservative, or any other loaded terms, and start thinking of candidates in terms of what they actually espouse. Those labels are just divisive, and are no longer relevant to current politics. Vote for the man or woman, not for a party.

    January 12, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. Brady

    I love all of the comments putting the Republican Senators in the same group. George Voinovich was pretty outspoken about the Iraq War. In later years, he spoke against President Bush and many of his fellow Republicans. George Voinovich was an excellent governor and senator for Ohio, and I am proud to be represented by him. I wish him well in his retirement.

    January 12, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. Jordan in San Marcos, TX

    Michael, were you so concerned about "Checks and balances" when the GOP controlled the White House and Congress earlier this decade?

    January 12, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. Dave in Atlanta

    Whoa did not see this one coming ... wow.

    January 12, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  19. Bill, Ohio

    I am very liberal and while i may not agre with some of his positions, i have had nothing but respect for Voinovich. He has served Ohio well and he is a clean and honest politician. He is not the typical sleeze ball or hypocrite. He was a reputable public servent. I hope he enjoys his retirement. Please dont lumo him together with the Bushies just because he is of the same party.

    January 12, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  20. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Is it possible that the Democrats could pick up more seats in the Senate for the third election cycle in a row? That seems unlikely to me.

    January 12, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. Whats left in your wallet?

    Good riddance.

    January 12, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |


    Old people suck.

    January 12, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  23. joe smith

    apac probably needs a more enthusiastic desciple

    January 12, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |

    @ Marilyn January 12th, 2009 11:22 am ET

    That's okay. After a couple of years of Obama and a Democratic congress messing things up even more, the Republicans will take control back in 2010 anyway. I'm not a Republican, but I know I will never vote for a Democrat again. I'm a conservative Independent from now on.


    Please post your divisive nonsense on FIXED NEWS. Thanks.

    January 12, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. boered1

    hmm more rats jumping a sinking ship? Or maybe he has decided in an Obama era the lies and hypocrisy so long accepted by our "elected" politicans will no longer be tolerated and wants to get out before he gets burned. either was glad to see him go I lived in Ohio with him and his nonsense!

    Not ustre how things will turn out in 2010, if Obama gets support and starts to turn this country around I think it will stay democratic, if things don't turn around, or at least appear to be turning around, this country will go republican. me I think it will stay democratic and possibly become more so but I have been wrong in the past.


    January 12, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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