February 10th, 2010
02:16 PM ET
13 years ago

Michigan Republican announces retirement

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/10/art.ehlers.jpg caption=" Michigan Republican Rep. Vern Ehlers said Wednesday he will not run for re-election in November."]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."

Filed under: GOP • Michigan • Popular Posts
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. Sue

    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.

    The unemployment rates in some parts of Michigan, are some of the highest in the nation. The unemployment rate for Detroit alone, is supposed to be about 23%.

    I don't think that there is any way that the citizens of Michigan would be stupid enough to put a Democrat in this seat--and let them do even more damage.

    February 10, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. Laura Walker

    A House Divided Cannot Stand–Be it a Government, a Country or a Family. Unity Now, Please!

    February 10, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. gt

    take sen spector , robert byrd and pat leahey with you...new blood both parties...

    February 10, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. RCasson

    TAKE this seat Democrats!

    February 10, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. NVa Native

    "They're dropping like flies" ...... right Corporate News Network (CNN) or do you only say that when it's one of the few Dems who retires?
    Are the Repubs running from their own tea-bagger mob with the pitch forks and torches as they cleanse their party of any tolerence, inclusion, diversity, logic, or rational thought?
    Hey where has our RNC "Man of Steele" been lately?

    February 10, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. Turn Texas Blue

    Another corporate money bagger heading for retirement,dont slip on a banana on your way to the islands to pick up your tax free cash,you old buzzard.Pete Sessions is another mouthpiece for ExxonMobil and the Swordmakers union in Texas,hes not worth a plug nickel either.

    February 10, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Gale

    NO ONE 76 years of age, should still be in public office. Republican or Democrat.

    February 10, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. No More Incumbents

    good, keep going.

    February 10, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. Danny

    Hmmmmm is this a sign that the GOP is in distress and its members are abandoning ship, or is it just a 76 year old senator deciding to retire after 16 years in office? Surely CNN will tell us soon.

    February 10, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. markiejoe

    "Voters in the Grand Rapids area have long supported Republican candidates who stand for limited government "

    That must mean they roundly rejected George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004, huh? Because W. expanded the federal government to an unprecedented extent, spent money like a banchee to drive the country from surplus to record debt and create a trade imbalance like the country had never experienced before, and ran up the largest national deficit ever - all the while being supported 100% in his spend and spend and spend some more without a thought of how to pay for it all by the Republican Party in Congress.

    But sure, Grand Rapids has "long supported Republican candidates who stand for limited government." Right.

    February 10, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. ran

    Now lets hear about all the trouble the republicans will have because this guy is getting out. I doubt we will because it seems the media only thinks the Democrats are the ones who will have troubles getting elected or reelected in 2010/2012. NOT.

    The Republicans and so call "tea party" movement are in for a rude awakening when they lose big time because of their fear/hate/obstructionism/purity ideology.

    People are tired of it and want elected officials to do the people business.

    February 10, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. J.Crobuzon

    Congrats to him on a long career in public service, and a bad rash to the first person to sneer at him for being GOP. Folks, it's not all partisan politics. Some people just serve the country.

    February 10, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    At 76 it is time to retire.

    February 10, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Conservative Voice

    This is good. Time for Michigan to put term limits in their Constitution....

    February 10, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. Steph

    Grand Rapids...the home of Amway...that Republican stronghold. I bet he'll pick his successor. Hey, how's the economy in Grand Rapids? I bet with all that limited government and the conservative policies it's just paradise there....NOT!

    February 10, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  16. I think it's Time for Exodus:

    and he's going to read some

    February 10, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  17. CF

    The Democrats are actually TRYING to fix the unemployment problem in MI and the country, unlike the Republicans which caused the problem in the first place and now just obstruct anyone trying to help.

    February 10, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. CF

    If this was a Democrat, every news site would be plastered with headlines about "Democrats losing another one" and "how much trouble the party is in" and "this is referendum on Obama." When in fact, Republcans have suffered a greater net loss in the past year than Democrats have.

    February 10, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Average American

    I don't agree with many of his positions on issues, but I hope he enjoys more time with his family. He did what the people in his district elected him to do. He's earned his retirement. Thank you for your public service.

    February 10, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. Tom C in NY

    Hey Sue, please do tell us in your infinate wisdom what, exactly, Obama and the Democrats have "done to Michigan" How was Michigan doing under 8 years of GOP rule? Please elaborate.

    February 10, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. maf

    "Voters in the Grand Rapids area have long supported Republican candidates who stand for limited government and pro-growth economic policies".
    I guess that means they DIDN'T support Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush.

    February 10, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. Libertarian

    @Sue – DEMS did the damage to Michigan??? Seems like the auto industry sputtered and failed over a long period of years. They were failing when Obama took office. Obama propped them up and keep thousands employed. (right or wrong)

    February 10, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. Steve (the real one)

    Is it time to start constructing a retirement home right next to the Congress? As a conseravtive I'm starting to think so! We need new blood and fresh Ideas! I am sure he was good for his district but come on!
    Strom Thurmond-100 years old
    Robert Byrd-90+

    It is both parties, ladies and gentlemen!

    February 10, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. hongli

    Another republican Rat retiring. It's about time all these bench warmers go on retirement and keep their mouth shut.

    February 10, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  25. Brian L

    he would have been labelled a RINO anyway..... Republicans eat their own children

    February 10, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
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