(CNN) – Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Florida, will retire at the end of this congressional session due to health reasons, according to a statement released Friday by her office.
"As I have prepared for my campaign, I have been troubled by persistent health problems and have come to the disappointing and sad conclusion that I cannot run for reelection," said Brown-Waite, who represents Florida's 5th Congressional District. "There are simply too many unresolved issues around my health and my pancreas in particular. As of this morning, my doctors are still undecided about what course to pursue next for my treatments."
Brown-Waite's statement included an endorsement for Hernando County Sheriff Richard Nugent, a Republican, who the Tampa Tribune reports filed Friday with the state supervisor of elections office in Tallahassee to run in Brown-Waite's district.
"I encouraged Sheriff Nugent to run because I know him to be a strong conservative who will continue my fight for veterans and seniors," Brown-Waite said. "This past week Rich told me he would stand in my place for election to Congress."
Nugent spent six years in the Illinois Air National Guard and worked as a police officer in Chicago for 12 years before moving to Florida.
"We will run a vigorous campaign based on the conservative values shared by so many of our neighbors in Hernando County and throughout the 5th District," Nugent said in the statement. "There is no one in this country who has been more committed to serving our seniors and veterans than Ginny Brown-Waite."
Brown-Waite was the target of a threatening phone call in March. Federal authorities announced on April 19 that a 66-year-old man had been charged with making the call.
Brown-Waite won re-election in 2008 with 61 percent of the vote. Sen. John McCain won the district by 13 points. Tom Doolan and Jim Piccillo are vying for the Democratic nomination.
Updated at 2:20 p.m.: Rep. Pete Sessions, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, released a statement on Brown-Waite's announcement.
“For seven years, Ginny Brown-Waite has served central Florida with the independence and tenacity that has defined her career in public service," Sessions, R-Texas, said. "Whether it was working to increase healthcare access for veterans or lowering the tax burden on middle-class families, Ginny’s constituents could always count on her to stand up for their best interests.”
“If you know anything about Ginny Brown-Waite, it is that she is a fighter, and my prayers are with her," Sessions added. "...I wish Ginny and her family all the best.”
Thank you for your service. You do not have to agree with someone's politics to appreciate what they have done for their constituants. As a Veteran and son of a Veteran we need more folks who recognize our needs.
Whoever takes you place will have some very big shoes to fill.
Our prayers are with you.
Signed – a liberal democrat from the northeast!
Oh, yeah, all you people from states other than Florida, don't try to tell the people who they should vote for. Let them decide for themselves.
Translation: I'm not quite as conservative as the Tea Baggers think I should be and a primary challenge would be very hard to overcome and the American people has finally wised up to us only knowing one word, :NO" and they are now expecting more from us, and we have nothing, zip, nada, just no.. On the other hand, my congressional health care plan which is outstanding by the way, will continue even though I'm no longer in office. This is a great country!
Vote NO in NOvember for the party of NO.
Don't let the door hit ya where the good lord spilt ya. Bye!! Come on democrats. Here's another seat up for grabs. We just got a Florida seat about a month ago. I think we can get this one as well.
Strong conservatives fight for industry entitlements, handouts for the wealthy, deregulation, and Wall Street profits.
If you are concerned about veterans and seniors you had better vote Democrat.
Dutch – Think again buddy. Have you paid attention to what's been going on down in Florida? Obviously not. Floridians are tired of your Liberal pukes poisoning the well.
In other words, she suckled at the taxpayers' teat for _____ (fill in the number of year)s and did nothing...just like everyone else in the GOP.
Good-Bye and Good Riddance. Right-wing, lying, neo-con!
Hmmm ... aging right wing rubber stamp endorses younger right wing rubber stamp to succeed her.
This is not news.
Make sure you stick to your strong conservative values and refuse to take any of that government-run Medicare when you're dealing with your health problems.
Three term limit for senate and congress please. Let those who are physically and mentally fit, serve us in the house.
Regardless of what ones political affiliation is, this woman has serious health problems and we must show some civility and wish her well.
If you stop listening to Fixed News, you will know that a democrat won a congressional seat in Florida in a special election a month ago.
Good Riddance Ginny. Now go relax with a nice Coke and some "Freedom Fries"
Good luck and God bless.
I have not and will not vote for anyone over 65. At some point, even politicians have to retire. We need younger people with new vision running this country.
Wow, do any of you understand her condition? Put politics aside for a moment and try being human. I am heavily and well versed in politics, but there is also a way to state your opinion while also showing some compassion for a human being. I don't think she poses a threat to any one of you.
God bless you!!
I hope she gets well but I'm happy that she's having to retire. She's done no good for race relations in Florida.