Blue Dog Dem won't seek re-election
July 25th, 2011
11:35 AM ET
3 years ago

Blue Dog Dem won't seek re-election

[Updated at 3:05 p.m. ET with Ross statement and reaction]

(CNN) -– Rep. Mike Ross, D-Arkansas, announced Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2012.

Ross said in a statement that he wants to spend more time with his family and explore a bid for governor in 2014.

Read Ross' statement after the jump:


“As I reflect on turning 50 this year, I believe it is time for me to begin a new chapter in my life by spending more time with my family and exploring new opportunities here at home in Arkansas,” Ross said.

Ross, a member of the Blue Dog Coalition of moderate House Democrats, is one of two Democrats currently representing his state in Congress. He was not facing an opponent for re-election.

The Blue Dog Coalition has been more than halved since before the November 2010 midterm elections, when 54 members belonged to the caucus. Now, only 25 members hold the distinction.

The National Republican Congressional Committee offered a swift response to Ross’ announcement.

“Mike Ross is saving himself the task of defending the indefensible policies of his party in what would have been the toughest race of his career,” Paul Lindsey, the group’s communications director said in a statement. “He may be the last Democrat in Arkansas, but he won’t be the last Blue Dog to throw in the towel.”

Ross is currently serving his sixth term in Congress, having won re-election in 2010 by 18 percentage points.

–CNN Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh, CNN's Jeff Simon and CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report

Ross Statement:

Representing my home state of Arkansas in the U.S. Congress for the past eleven years has been a real privilege and honor. It is a job that I take very seriously and one that I love. However, as I reflect on turning 50 this year, I believe it is time for me to begin a new chapter in my life by spending more time with my family and exploring new opportunities here at home in Arkansas.

That’s why I have decided not to seek a seventh term to the United States House of Representatives from Arkansas’s Fourth Congressional District. This was not an easy decision and one that I carefully made after a lot of reflection, thought and prayer.

Last year was a tough political environment to seek re-election. Yet, I won by 18 points—one of the largest margins of any member of Congress in a swing district. The trust and confidence the folks here at home have continually placed in me is something I will never forget. The people of Arkansas’s Fourth Congressional District are good, decent, hard working people and I am proud to serve and represent them in the U.S. Congress.

A lot has changed since I was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 2000. Congressional campaigns have gone from several months in length to never-ending, costing millions of dollars every two years. As a result, fundraising never ends nor do the political attacks. While I have worked hard to bring folks to the middle to craft commonsense solutions to the many problems that confront our nation, Washington is mired in gridlock, gamesmanship and constant partisan bickering. Too many issues and votes are based on partisan politics rather than good public policy. Despite our many challenges, I remain optimistic that America’s best days are still ahead of us.

I never believed that my service in the U.S. Congress should become a permanent career. This seat never belonged to me—it belongs to the people of Arkansas. And I know there are many bright people in Arkansas ready to step up, go to Washington and offer a new generation of leadership. Simply put, it is someone else’s turn to represent our state in the U.S. Congress.

I have many good memories of my service in the U.S. Congress, and we have helped thousands of people. None of this would have been possible without the support of the people here in Arkansas, and for that, my family and I will always be grateful to them.

I look forward to serving out the remainder of my term in the U.S. Congress, which doesn’t end until January 2013. I will continue to work each and every day on behalf of the people I represent, just as I have faithfully tried to do from the beginning.

I have received a lot of encouragement to run for Governor of Arkansas when Governor Beebe's term ends in 2014. I've always been very upfront and honest in the fact that, as a fifth generation Arkansan, I love our state and would like very much to help lead it at some point in the future. Whether I run for Governor in 2014 is a decision I have not yet made and won't make until sometime after my term in this Congress ends.

But I do know if I was re-elected to the U.S. Congress next year, my term in the Congress would overlap with the Governor's race. I believe it would be impossible to successfully run for Governor here at home, while effectively carrying out my congressional duties in Washington. That wouldn't be fair to the people who elected me to Congress and it wouldn't be fair to my supporters in a race for Governor. That certainly factored into my decision not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress.

I don’t know what my future holds, but I am hopeful it involves us continuing to work together to build an even brighter future for our state and its people.





Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement regarding Ross' announcement:

“Congressman Mike Ross has served the families, workers, and business owners of Arkansas’ 4th Congressional district with distinction and dedication for more than a decade. A fifth-generation Arkansan, his time in the House has been defined by his commitment to his neighbors and constituents; a co-founder of the Blue Dog Coalition, he has always focused on fiscal responsibility.

“From his time as a small business owner to his service in the Arkansas State Senate to his terms in the House of Representatives, Congressman Ross has been a proud public servant, and a strong advocate for the people he represents.

“We wish him and his family well in the future."






Filed under: 2012 • Mike Ross
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. gt

    ross will be the next gov. of arkansas....he lost al his power in the house .... there is no room for a blue dog any more in the democratic party...very sad...he was a good one...

    July 25, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. Democrat Class Warfare & Race Baiting - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Didn't want to run for re-election on the same ballot as Obama. He's going to take a LOT of Democrats down with him.

    July 25, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. h3ltersk3lter

    RE: ClassWarfare

    Take a good long look at that folks, and you'll see just how extreme and delusional members of the far right are. They don't understand that the death of moderates has been the death of America, the death of common sense and ability to see the good ideas from both sides of the aisle could not be the problem for this poster though, it's that his ideological dreams can't be enacted because there's Americans that disagree with him! Don't worry though man, because God has TWO candidates running for office in 2012, Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry. What a genius that right-wing lord and savior is, splitting the votes of his adherents right down the middle.

    Guess God's not as good at playing politics as the GOP is!

    July 25, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. Matthew

    It's a shame when moderates like Mike Ross fear running for re-election. What a sad commentary on the state of the modern Democratic party, in which only the fringe far left has any real power. Same thing goes for the Republican party, in which only the fringe right calls the shots. When will we WAKE UP, America, and realize that political moderacy is the only way forward in the long term?

    July 25, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. A. Goodwin

    gt – I dont think that at all. As an independent, I see the GOPers push those moderates away from the GOP and right into the lap of the Democrats. People who were considered blue dogs are now called liberals by the GOP.

    July 25, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. A. Goodwin

    Matthew – He said in his own letter that he's running for govenor. Hardly fearing for re-election.

    July 25, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. Mikey

    @Democrat Class Warfare & Race Baiting – Destroying the economy, destroying the country
    "Didn't want to run for re-election on the same ballot as Obama. He's going to take a LOT of Democrats down with him."

    It's always interesting to read your bits of fantasy. You have a very skewed view of the world, which appears to be driven by uncontrolled anger and hatred. Keep on posting. I don't think very many fair minded Americans will agree with your views or will want to be associated with your brand of venom. You provide a good counterpoint to the thoughtful, ratioinal left-center, pragmatic leadership of America's President, OUR President, the President of the People, Barack Obama.

    July 25, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. Democrat Class Warfare & Race Baiting - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    The Blue Dog Coalition has been more than halved since before the November 2010 midterm elections, when 54 members belonged to the caucus. Now, only 25 members hold the distinction.
    =================================================================================================
    translation: The Democrat Party is controlled by the far left "progressives"/socialists/communists. The Democrat Party of JFK is dead and buried.

    July 25, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. Republican Robber Baron

    Hope that Ross won't be another Evan Bayh and go run off to work as a Lobbyist to sell us out to the Big $ Barons and get paid to be a professional traitor at Fox "News". Evan Bayh set the new benchmark low in just how bad many of these so called "moderates" are.

    July 25, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. v_wheeler

    There is simply no such animal as a "moderate" Democrat. Never was, never will be. The Democrats of late have been concumed with income redistribution via tazing and spending. Uner the guise of playing Robin Hood, they are stealing the wealth of productive Americans and resistributing it to THE GOVERNMENT! If they have their way, the middle class will be wiped out, totally, and there will be nobody left but those that are more and more dependent on the government sow. At that point, bear in mind, it will be likely that the fredoms and liberties Americans have enjoyed since the founding will evaporate overnight. Just like Democrat politicians have been planning since FDR.

    July 25, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. wishing

    Read the Republican response. What a sick bunch of pond scum they are.

    July 25, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. It Won't Be Long Now

    Whoops! Another one bites the dust! The Dem party has become nothing more and nothing less than the Party of Takers.......everyone who is driven by the need to be taken care of by a Nanny State, or who has an attitude of entitlement, that they are "owed" something because someone mistreated their forefathers.....or they simply choose to NOT think for themselves, make up the majority of the Democratic voting block. Take away thier freebes and they will turn on you!
    Proven fact; when the United States flag is flown or when there is patrotic music played, ALL who participate are or will vote Republican!
    You must think for yourself, go to work and become a Giver adn not a Taker!

    July 25, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    gt wrote:
    ross will be the next gov. of arkansas....he lost al his power in the house .... there is no room for a blue dog any more in the democratic party...very sad...he was a good one...
    -------------
    What? Sure there's plenty of room in Congress for blue dog Democrats. Who do you think are going to take over all of those seats currently occupied by Tea Partiers? Another Republican? I don't think so.

    July 25, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  14. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Five words for this guy: wimp and DINO.

    July 25, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. the_dude

    Hey look at me i'm smart ok? democrat = good republican = bad ok? Hey look i'm smart and political.

    July 25, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. Terry

    Why would any intelligent person involved in politics want to work in Washington, DC? The Capitol is a three ring circus, and frankly, it is the same old clown show year-after-year.

    July 25, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. willard

    Oh my god that obama
    Was 5 mistake but he was really problems his job also why amercian like play game vote for obama presdient about 2008
    So he make happy. History his black presdient

    July 25, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. Mindie from India

    translation – "The tea bagging clowns running the Republican Party are impossible to work with." I'm sure he'll get back into the swing when there are some mature people running the government and it won't be you republiCONS.

    July 25, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. ck1721

    Who? I guess I'm not surprised. I'm sure we'll see many more D's deciding not to run next year, and all of them claiming reasons OTHER than "I can't win because I voted for ________(Fill in the failed policy that the majority of Americans didn't support)"

    July 25, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  20. John, PA

    One Democrat we won’t have to vote out of office. In 2010 the Democratic lose was a slaughter; the 2012 election cycle is going to be a massacre. Obama, the Democrats in the house and the 23 Senators up for election in 2012 better understand their jobs are on the line, we are watching how they vote, they will be replaced. We are at depression levels of employment in America our government debt is at crisis levels.

    July 25, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. USMCvet

    He won by 18 points. That's not close at all. That's a blowout. What "race of his life" is the GOP talking about???

    h3, you want Rick Perry to run???? THE MAN HAS AN $36 BILLION DEFICIT IN THE STATE OF TEXAS!!! HE HAS RUN THE STATE INTO THE GROUND SUCH THAT HE HAD TO BEG FOR TAXPAYER BAILOUT DOLLARS TO HELP PUT OUT THE WILDFIRES IN TEXAS.

    SO, YOU WANT SOMEONE WHO RAN TEXAS INTO THE GROUND TO BE PRESIDENT AND FURTHER INCREASE THE DEFICIT?????????????????????????????????????????????????

    Michelle Bachmann??? Are you kidding me??? She's only running POTUS because the 2010 gubernatorial race was won by a Democrat WHO REDISTRICTED HER OUT SEAT OF OBLIVION...JUST LIKE THE GOP IS DOING TO DEMOCRATS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. IF SHE LOSES THE POTUS, WHICH SHE MOST LIKELY WILL, SHE IS HISTORY.

    July 25, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. 2012liberal

    Good riddens. We as a country lost so much in progress because of blue dogs 'republicans in blue jackets' / even more so with tea party! Progressives all the way 2012 and beyond!

    July 25, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Listen to the Republicans response, they don't believe in the people's vote which is more proof they must be watched because they will steal elections before elections and after elections. BE AWARE DEMOCRATS.

    July 25, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  24. lynn

    Sorry to lose him as my Rep. He listens to his constituents, everytime I've contacted him, he replies with an answer, not just a prerecorded response.

    July 25, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |