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. Randy M.

    Am I concerned that so many in the GOP are retiring? No because they have been in office for so long it is probably time for some "younger blood" to take over.

    February 10, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. jeff

    you people are all idiots

    February 10, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. Dean

    for ran who wrote "People are tired of it and want elected officials to do the people business."

    This is why the Democrats and Obama cannot get anything done. The people do not want their agenda.

    February 10, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. dreadnaught

    Sue, News flash. Obama didn't do it to Michigan, the guy you voted for did. And SInce George had eight years, give Obama more than one to fix it, okay?

    February 10, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. John in WV

    Did the citizens of Michigan help elect Obama? The people of Michigan and the rest of the country did not wake up the day after Obama was sworn in to face the problems this country faces.

    February 10, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  6. A. Goodwin

    Sue – I highly disagree with you. I have an aunt who lives in Fenneville and Michigan has very much turned into a blue state. You might remember that last years election – Barack won that state. Reason being is that Bush and his cronies took a struggling economy for Michigan and turned into a FAILED economy.

    Kind of hard to keep jobs in that area – which are predominantly manufacturing jobs (including the auto industry) – when Bush made it sooo easy for corporations to shift that work overseas. Layoffs where happenening at asounting rates in that state during BUSH's presidency! People of Michigan did not forget that at election time last year.

    Democrats have done nothing but HELP Michigan. Just in the last quarter of 2009 alone Michigan picked up over 20,000 jobs. And lest us not forget that out of the 7.2 billion that the state has been alloted, they have only received 2+ billion. So, in a nutshell – there is more good to come.

    So, please tell me all-knowing Sue – what exactly has the Democrats done to Michigan? Looks to me – nothing but good.

    February 10, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. WMiller

    I love how people squawk about term limits and how "76 is too old". Well, obviously Ehlers' constituents didn't think he was too old and aren't in favor of term limits since they had ample opportunities to vote him out.

    February 10, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. l

    No matter what the party..... There should be term limits.

    February 10, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  9. Hmmm

    @ Sue...you must be an idiot...what the democrats have done to Michigan?? This started with a republican as president. Bush caused many of what Michigan is dealing with right now. Don't put just the blame on one party and act like somehow democrats are the only one at fault...don't be that naive..both party are to blame

    February 10, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. Grand Rapidian

    A) Unemployment rates in the Grand Rapids area are significantly lower than the Detroit area- around 9%, as last heard. Grand Rapids' economy is much more diverse than Detroit and Amway/Alticor. There's been diversification and investment, especially into the medical field. I'm not saying there's not economic hardship, but don't lump GR in with Detroit.

    B) A Republican stronghold? Maybe. But it's not as conservative as you might think. If you run the right Democrat, it will be an interesting race. Even more so if part of District 2 (Hoekstra) is incorporated– that area mainly being Muskegon. Over the past decade, the area has been sliding towards the center and this might be just the thing to push it to the left.

    C) It was time for Ehlers to retire, but too bad he was relatively moderate in comparison to some. I'd gladly see Hoeksta out as well, just as long as he's not entering the governor's chair. Ehlers might not have made huge national splashes, but at least he doesn't come off as a complete tool of the Republican party.

    February 10, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. Leanderjim

    Sue........how in the world can you blame Obama for Michigan's unemployment rate..........let's see, eight years, of Bush, with six years of Rep Congress and one year of Obama, and three years of a Dem Congress, and it's all his fault................glad i don't live on your planet.

    February 10, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  12. roflstomp

    Turn Texas Blue, once again your thoughtful, open-minded and insightful comments epitomize the values of fair and honest debate and the willingness to hear both sides of an argument.

    February 10, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. Steve

    I dare any of you who felt good about smearing this man to spend as much time in public service as he did. It's always amazes me how the armchair quarterbacks always know better, but never get off the couch except to get some chips and dip.

    February 10, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  14. JT

    Rep. Ehlers, While I differ with you on most issues politically, thank you for your serrvice to our country.

    February 10, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. Jay

    16 years is enuff. Thank you for retiring. I don't believe your age should be a factor in your choice. Michigan cannot impose term limits on US Congressmen that would take a nationwide amendment which is not likely no matter how many of us want it.

    February 10, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. Palin's Malfunctioning "Palm" Pilot

    Hmm ... One of the very few things Rethugs aren't saying no to these days is retirement. Everything else is still on the table for "no".

    February 10, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. Fantastic

    Being from Michigan, It's time for him to go and for Michigan to bring in the new blood with new ideals.

    February 10, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  18. Obama Mama

    Yeeeeeeer Outta here

    February 10, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |


    America NEEDS fresh, young minds. People who can LOOK TOWARDS THE FUTURE instead of REPEATING the mistakes of the past.

    It's time to rid Washington of ALL the OLD, RICH, WHITE, MEN and replace them with YOUNG, ETHNICALLY DIVERSE men AND women.

    That goes for ALL THREE parties!!

    February 10, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  20. john

    "so much more needs to be done' coming from the party of "no" and obstructionism.....what a joke

    February 10, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. Voice of Reason

    Please take Chuck Grassley, Jim Inhofe, and Richard Shelby with you. Out with the old, in with the new in both parties.

    February 10, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. noel

    What did Obama do to Michigan that was already devastated under the previous Republican Government. It is so easy to spread lies and hate speaches that to be honest and speak the truth. Any day we all talk about helping all Americans instead of looking for personal political gain, this country will be a better place. WAKE UP EVERYONE

    February 10, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. GuyInVA

    Wow Steph, I was unaware that Grand Rapids is a sovereign nation/state. I was under the crazy impression that Grand Rapids was part of a labor union controlled, democrat lead state... with a lousy economy. I guess one really does learn something new every day.

    I do believe that the city itself tends to vote democrat. Clinton, Gore and Obama all carried the city of Grand Rapids in their respective presidential elections. Stupid FACTS! Don't ya just hate 'em?

    February 10, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  24. Bob Pacific Grove, Ca

    Ehlers regrets leaving after 8 terms in office "because so much more needs to be done"??? Since when does saying "NO" constitute doing anything......

    February 10, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  25. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    They are qutting left and right (no Pun intended). More better follow their lead because come fall the voters will retire them all, no matter what party they belong to.
    Vote Congress out, “you are fired” if they are in. Vote them out this fall no matter what party they belong to, and in the next election and every election going forward until they become the servants of the people once more.

    February 10, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
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