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

Sen. Voinovich announces retirement

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/12/art.voinovich.gi.jpg caption="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. We're NOT "your friends"!!!

    Michael, Houston Texas~ Yo man when the republitards were in control of all three branched of govt from 2001-2006 no one ever heard a word about checks-and-balances. Now the Dems. are in control and now you want your checks-and-balances, LMAO! Why can't everyone just be held to the same standards. Wait, your republitards, you don't have any standards!

    January 12, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  2. Sweetie

    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.

    As a Christian I agree that in today’s world it is hard to be both a Christian and a Politician!

    January 12, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  3. Tired of W, but not much longer...

    I am a lifelong Democrat and have never voted for a Republican with one exception: Voinovich. He is a truly old-school Republican that cares more about what is right, than simply voting along party lines. He's not one of these Bush Doctrine idiots that have infested the GOP. I didn't always agree with Voinovich, just like I'm sure that I won't always agree with Obama on every subject, but I've always respected him.

    January 12, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  4. Al Qaeda calling

    Americans think Republicans are extremists.
    Hee hee...

    January 12, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  5. party of five

    "Jackie in Dallas" Well said!!!!

    January 12, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. Pam

    When he was asked what is the most urgent issue facing the country right now, he said a terrorist attack. Not the economy, but a terrorist attack. That's exactly why we're in this situation now. He is ,and always has been, completely delusional.

    January 12, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. Scott the Independent

    It must be nice to screw the country and then retire with a full pension.

    January 12, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. BW


    Please tell us (even though most of us already know the answer) that you are not a representative sample of Obama supporters? Ignorance is bliss, right Chuck?

    January 12, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Scott from Ohio

    Some of the posters here are blindly partisan and don't know what they're talking about. George Voinovich is a moderate Senator who has done a great job for Ohio. He may vote with his party more than not, but he can hardly be called a reliable Republican vote. Those of you who made rude comments against him here are truly unfamiliar with Ohio politics. His retirement gives a chance to some fresh faces on BOTH SIDES to run for Senate, like Rob Portman and Lee Fisher.

    January 12, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. the idiot

    Chuck@ Where do you dumbocrats get the idea that if someone is not a democrat they are racist? Sounds like idiocy (or like you have had the George Soros, union ACORN Kool Aid) to me. Watch out Pourd American will start calling you out.

    January 12, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. Joe the Con Artist

    The seat is now up for grabs.
    Will "Joe the Brownshirt" run?

    Palin/Joe the Brownshirt 2012

    January 12, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. Mary

    What is wrong with the Republican party. Do they hate the fact of serving their country under Obama? We are all the same, just different colors. My question is, what are they going to tell Jesus when they have to answer for their deeds since they have all these Christians values. Jesus expects us to be as He is? Accepting and loving everyone. He sends the rain on the just and unjust. I can not wait to hear some one's answer to this question.

    January 12, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. Jesus

    I love Republicans. I even love Democrats.

    January 12, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  14. Objective thinking

    I am concerned with checks and balances, and YES, I was concerned for checks and balances when the Republican party had control of both the presidency and Congress. Now what do you have to say to me, Kathy_in _Indiana and Jordan in San Marcos, TX?

    January 12, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. richard

    Let the Democrats crash and burn this country all by them self.

    January 12, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. Al Franken

    I always considered this guy a little more moderate. But I guess he probably sees rough seas for the republicans in the next few years. As bad as things are now, and as much flack as Obama is taking for hsi promises, nobody has forgotten who got us in this mess, and it seems unlikely that they will in the near future. I know Jimmy Carter is down in Plains, Georgia moonwalking, knowing that somebody else took his crown as the worst President ever.

    January 12, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Republican = Retire. Looks like a sound equation to me.

    January 12, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. Allen Hussein

    Hey Republicans, how about a trade? You let the Democrats win Voinovich's seat and you guys defeat the worthless Harry Reid in NV. Sounds like a win-win to me!

    January 12, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. Kenneth

    This seems to be a man of integrity. I would only wish that ALL senior senators would follow his example and bow down to make room for younger representatives.

    January 12, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. bsmith171

    he should resign effective TODAY!

    January 12, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. sick n tired

    The new GOP slogan should be " ABANDON SHIP"!!!!!!

    January 12, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  22. cat

    GO REPUBLICANS.....No really really (Go) just go

    January 12, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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