Columbus, Ohio (CNN) - Retiring Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, said Monday that the upcoming lame duck session of Congress should work together on a handful of key issues to demonstrate a commitment to problem-solving rather than partisan bickering.
"When the public sees their elected officials fighting, they know for sure that their interests are not being heard or cared about," Voinovich told reporters after a rally for Ohio Republicans on Monday. "The most important thing that we can do, even in the lame duck, is to see whether we can't coalesce around a couple of things."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana slammed fellow Republican George Voinovich Wednesday for saying the GOP's problems stem from the fact that it is "being taken over by Southerners," calling the Ohio senator "a moderate, really wishy-washy."
"I'm on the side of conservatives getting back to core conservative values," Vitter told the Washington Times. "There are a lot of us from the South who hold those values, which I think the party is supposed to be about. We strayed from them in the past few years, and that's why we performed so badly in the national elections."
"[Voinovich is…] a moderate, really wishy-washy," he said.
Voinovich, who has decided not to run for re-election next year, told a newspaper in his home state that Southern dominance of the GOP was hurting the party elsewhere.
"We got too many Jim DeMints and Tom Coburns," Voinovich told the Columbus Dispatch Monday. "It's the Southerners….
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican Sen. George Voinovich, who is not running for re-election next year, told a newspaper in his home state of Ohio yesterday that Southerners bore a good share of the blame for his party's lagging popularity.
"They get on TV and go 'errrr, errrrr,'" he said, according to the paper. "People hear them and say, 'These people, they're Southerners. The party's being taken over by Southerners. What they hell they got to do with Ohio?'"
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint have been top targets for Democrats. Over the past few weeks, the Democratic National Committee has released spots slamming DeMint, including a tough ad that rips the senator for saying defeat of the administration's health care bill would "break" President Obama.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich has dropped out of bipartisan negotiations for an economic stimulus bill, a potentially ominous sign for President Obama’s top priority.
According to a Voinovich aide, following a meeting of Republican negotiators this afternoon in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office, Voinovich concluded that his “philosophical” differences with their approach is too great, and he can no longer support efforts at compromise, or the final bill.
The problem for Democratic leaders and the White House: they need two or three Republican votes to pass the stimulus bill - and only five, including Voinovich, have been involved in negotiations.
Even Susan Collins of Maine, the lead Republican in the effort, made clear to reporters as she left Reid’s office this afternoon that she didn’t feel as good as she had earlier.
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
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sources close to Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, tell CNN he will announce Monday he is retiring from the Senate.
The 72-year-old senator and former Ohio governor has been contemplating retirement for a while but made his final decision this weekend in Florida, where he was joined by his wife, children and grandchildren, according to one of the sources.
Voinovich plans to serve out his term, which expires in 2010.
He plans to make the announcement at 4 p.m. ET Monday in Washington, the source said.
Voinovich will be the fourth Republican senator to announce he will not run for re-election in 2010. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Missouri, said late last week that we would retire, joining Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Florida, and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, who had already announced they would leave Capitol Hill when their terms end at the close of the 111th Congress.
Republicans must defend 15 incumbents and four open seats in 2010. (Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, whose term is not up until 2012, is seriously considering a 2010 gubernatorial bid and could also be vacating her seat early).
Meanwhile, Democrats have to defend 15 incumbents and two seats where special elections are expected to be held. In Delaware, a special election will be scheduled for Vice President-elect Joe Biden's seat as well as a special election in New York should Hillary Clinton be confirmed as the next Secretary of State.