Updated: 1:25 p.m.Adding to what has become a steady drip of Democratic retirements in recent weeks, Rep. Bart Gordon announced Monday morning that he will not run for re-election in his Middle Tennessee seat in 2010 after 13 terms in Congress.When I was elected, I was the youngest member of the Tennessee Congressional delegation; now, Im one of the oldest, Gordon said. In fact, I have members of my staff who werent even born when I took office. That tells me its time for a new chapter.Gordon, chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, cited family considerations as the reason behind his decision.Turning 60 has led me to re-evaluate whats next. I have an 8-year-old daughter and a wonderful wife who has a very demanding job. I am the only child of my 83-year-old mother, Margaret. They have made sacrifices to allow me to do what I love by serving in Congress, and now its my turn, Gordon said.Gordons retirement comes as Republicans have made a lot of noise about targeting him for defeat. The Republican presidential nominees overwhelmingly carried the 6th district in the 2004 and 2008 White House contests, and Gordons departure sets up a prime GOP pickup opportunity next year. State Sen. Jim Tracy (R) was on Capitol Hill earlier this month meeting with National Republican Congressional Committee officials about a potential bid in the 6th district.Tracy, a former teacher who also owns an insurance business, represents a little more than a third of the districts population in the state Legislature. He said Gordons announcement sped up his timetable. Im definitely running, Tracy said. Were filing our papers today. He joins a contested primary that includes former Rutherford County GOP Chairwoman Lou Ann Zelenik. House Republicans wasted little time holding up Gordon's decision as an indication that Democrats have "a retirement problem""After being forced to toe the line for [Speaker] Nancy Pelosis [D-Calif.] reckless agenda too many times, Blue Dog Democrats would rather roll over and retire than face the political headwind that is barreling toward them," NRCC Communications Director Ken Spain said.Among the early names being floated by Democratic insiders as possible replacements for Gordon are state Rep. Mike McDonald, Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe, state Rep. Hank Fincher, Murfreesboro Mayor Tommy Bragg and former state Sens. Andy Womack and Joann Graves.We are confident that a Democrat who shares Chairman Gordons commitment to putting progress before partisanship on behalf of Middle Tennessee will succeed him as the next Representative of Tennessees 6th District, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) said in a written statement.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.