House Appropriations Chairman David Obey made it official at a press conference this afternoon: He will not run for re-election in November, choosing to retire after more than 40 years representing his Wisconsin district.
“I’m ready to turn the page,” he said. “Frankly, I am bone tired.”
As we noted earlier, Obey faced a tough re-election fight in the candidacy of “The Real World: Boston” star and Ashland County District Attorney Sean Duffy. Duffy had received Sarah Palin’s endorsement and had raised almost $300,000 in 2009.
Obey denied he was retiring because of Duffy’s candidacy.
“The fact is there isn’t a chance of a snowball in Hades of that progressive congressional district electing someone who is a poor imitation of George Bush’s policies on a bad day,” he said. It is worth noting that while Obey’s district voted 56 percent for Obama, 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry only won it by about 5,000 votes. Obey had won re-election with at least 61 percent of the vote in every race from 2000 on.
Obey has been in the House since winning a special election in 1969 — two years before Duffy was born. He claims his long tenure in the chamber is the main reason for his retirement.
“The wear and tear is beginning to take its toll,” he said.
Obey claimed he would have retired some time during the last decade had he not had qualms with the Bush administration.