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Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) revealed late Sunday that he will retire upon the conclusion of his current term, regardless of how his long-shot presidential bid turns out, according to the Rocky Mountain News.
As promised, Tancredo, 61 , waited until after the Colorado Rockies' last out of the World Series on Sunday night before announcing that he plans to leave Congress at the end of this, his fifth term. The Rockies were swept 4-0 in Major League Baseball’s main event by the Boston Red Sox.
“It's the fact that I really believe I have done all I can do in the House, especially about the issue about which I care greatly [immigration],” Tancredo told the Rocky Mountain News in a phone interview from a motel in Iowa, where he is campaigning for president.
Tancredo’s retirement leaves House Republicans with another open seat to protect in the 2008 cycle. The news is sure to buoy Democrats as they seek to expand their House majority.
However, the strong Republican bent of the Congressman’s suburban Denver 6th district should keep the seat safe from a Democratic takeover and all but ensure victory in the general election for the eventual GOP nominee, especially considering the fact that 2008 is a presidential year.
Tancredo’s worst performance since ascending to the House in 1998 occurred in 2000, when he won re-election with 54 percent of the vote. President Bush won the suburban Denver 6th district with 60 percent of the vote in 2000 and 2004.
The heated GOP primary that is likely to ensue to replace Tancredo could feature state Sens. Ted Harvey and Tom Wiens and small business owner Wil Armstrong, the son of former Sen. Bill Armstrong (R-Colo.).
The state Senate districts held by Harvey and Wiens include separate though significant chunks of the 6th Congressional district. That could give each of them an advantage over other potential primary candidates, although their support does not extend outside of their legislative seats.
Armstrong’s father, the former Senator, is still revered by Colorado Republicans, and that could help the small-business man should he run for Congress. However, he would have to overcome the notion that he is trying to win a political office on his father’s coattails.
“Ted [Harvey] and Tom [Wiens] both are very serious, legitimate candidates,” a knowledgeable Colorado Republican told Roll Call last week. “But I think Wil [Armstrong] is the intriguing wild card that could surprise a lot of people. I don’t think there’s a frontrunner in it.”