Washington (CNN) – Michigan Republican Rep. Vern Ehlers said Wednesday he will not run for re-election in November.
Ehlers, 76, who made the announcement from his Grand Rapids district, said he decided to retire after finishing his eighth term so he can spend time with his family.
"While I regret leaving when so much more needs to be done, I know it is time for me to step down. I am in good health, but I recognize that I should complete this chapter of my life. I look forward to spending more time with my wife and my family in Grand Rapids," Ehlers said in a written statement.
Ehlers is the 16th House Republican to announce plans to leave the House either to run for another office or outright retire. So far, 13 House Democrats have decided to retire or run for another office, but Democratic aides expect this number to rise.
The senior Michigan Republican's district was carried very narrowly by Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, in the 2008 presidential race. Political strategists from both parties were quick to say Wednesday they would compete for the seat.
"Voters in the Grand Rapids area have long supported Republican candidates who stand for limited government and pro-growth economic policies, and we are confident that they will continue to do so in November," National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas, said in a written statement.
Ryan Rudominer, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told CNN, "As this race takes shape we are looking to see a strong Democratic candidate emerge in this district."
Eight terms? REALLY? That is way too long for anyone to be on Capital Hill! I won't even get started on the 76 part! I believe that all the Jr. reps, both Senate and Congress go believing that they can make a difference – then they learn much more about Lobbyists and special interests. At that point, making a difference is no longer relevant – getting elected again is the priority!
Incumbents of both parties are going to be in trouble. Ultimately, it will hurt Democrats more than Republicans.
I lobbied him when he was a state lawmaker. He knew the technical side of my issue better than I did since he was a college professor and generally is a smart guy. He did not support me on my bill although eventually, after years of working in Lansing, it became law. I didn't like him personally but I greatly respected him as a lawmaker. Yes a strong R but that didn't lead to him to supporting an industry bill. Michigan is losing a true public servant.
How is Michigan's economy Obama's fault. Nationwide the economy took a major blow due to the financial and housing crisis which if history serves me right, is not Obama's doing. Now in terms of bad policies in Michigan, you can blame Granholm for that one.
"This is a safe Republican district/seat. There is no way that the citizens of Grand Rapids area will put a Democrat in this seat-–not after what Obama and the Democrats have done to Michigan"
Some people really are stupid. Michigan is one of the strongest union states in the country. Unions, you know, the groups that protect American workers and wages, and are generally supported by Dems and hated by Repubs. The economy in Michigan was in a shambles long before 2009, you can thank the GWB/DC regime for that.
I don't blame him... after what his party's turned into since he was first elected over a decade and a half ago, I wouldn't want to be associated with it anymore, either. I hope he enjoys a happy retirement... and has plenty of his old GOP friends to keep him company after 2010.
buh-bye!! ALL these old farts (Rep & Dem) should get out. They are old and tired; their ideas (if they have any) are old and tired; the people are growing old and tired of it.
They may be members of our GREATEST generation (and we thank them), but times have changed. This is the 21st century, not 1940s and 50s. We need new blood, new ideas, fresh perspectives and some youth. Change with the times or be left behind....
You would be right, Sue, if the Democrats had done that to Michigan. It was George Bush and his administration that crashed the economy and put us in ruins, if you will remember correctly. Endless unpaid for wars, endless deregulation of corporations allowing the rape of the middle class, endless tax cuts and welfare for the rich; all courtesey of Republicans and George Bush. Don't get it twisted, you better put a Democrat in there if you want things to get better for the people. Otherwise, keep on putting Republicans in office and watch the people starve and die, with the blessing of the GOP.
@ Sue, the economy in Michigan was in trouble before Obama took office sweetie! Therefore again it was not the Democrats that spent like crazy but your dear friends the Republican Party....so sit back, be patient and the Obama team some time! I can't believe that people think a the world would be better over night, when President Obama has only been in office 1 year, (ONE YEAR), compared to 8 years, (EIGHT YEARS)
Time when bring about the "Change" some voted for...
Be they Democrat, Republican or Other, They should be gone by their 70th birthday, especially after reviewing their lack of real progress and accomplishments during their too-long tenure!
After finishing 8 terms, this guy is walking away with a nice little pension at the expense of those poor taxpayers the GOP keeps squawking about. I wonder how this GOP would feel if the government really did get smaller and all pensions for ex-Congressmen got cut. I'm willing to bet this would be one old GOP Congressman that would be hopping mad!
i'm a loyal democrat. but why do people have to insult this man on his way out and bring up Bush. The wings have never worked as government and its time people realized this and stopped throwing insults at each other. We already learned that no one will ever have a supermajority to pass their party's every desire so its time to actually negotiate with each other
Hey Steph, how is it that a House Rep has anything to do with the local economy. Doesn't that fall into the lap of the state government. Oh wait they are controlled by the Democrats. Never mind.
"As this race takes shape we are looking to see a strong Democratic candidate emerge in this district."
Not if Obama decides to campaign for that candidate.
Notice that when a Democrat retires you have to reasearch to find what party they're in, but when it's a Republican it's in the headline. Why is that, CNN? People want to know.
Have a great retirement.
At his age spending more time doing anything is a bonus! He'll probably make it to 90. Enjoy retirement and hope they don't make you pay for medical down the road!
Looks like the republicans are on the Titanic and abandoning ship to the icey waters. I only have one thing to say "keep em comin" Jim Hall Kansas City, Mo
I wish all the repulsivecans would retire.
Who cares? He and his party are doing nothing anyway in DC. The whole Repub party is basically useless.
Sadly, Ehlers is one of the few principled GOP members I can support because he believes in science instead of the typical ignorant anti-Christ version of Christianity favored by the teabaggers and other nuts on the right. While I hope he'll be replaced by someone as rational as he is, I'm not holding my breath. Instead we'll probably see another lying GOP prostitute like Hoekstra.
"This is a safe Republican district/seat. There is no way that the citizens of Grand Rapids area will put a Democrat in this seat-–not after what Obama and the Democrats have done to Michigan."
Ahahahaha! What an ignorant comment. Obama destroyed Michigan. Right. And they let people like you vote???? Keep getting your opinions from your corporate masters. Sue. Have a nice day!
You're foolish if you think a Democrat will take this seat. Get your head out of the sand Democrats, REAL change is approaching fast!!!