California Rep. Dennis Cardoza announced today that he is retiring at the end of the 112th Congress.
The five-term Blue Dog Democrat's announcement came as no surprise. California's new independent redistricting commission placed him in the same Central Valley district as Rep. Jim Costa, his good friend and a fellow Blue Dog. Costa and Cardoza voted for each other instead of for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during the roll call vote for Speaker at the beginning of this Congress.
Further evidence came over the weekend when Cardoza reported raising just $23,000 in the third quarter. He spent $85,000 and had just $64,000 remaining in the bank at the end of September.
“I love the people of the Central Valley, and thank them for the confidence they have placed in me for over 20 years of elective office,” Cardoza said in a statement. “While I plan to retire from public service after this term in Congress, I will energetically continue my efforts to improve California as a private citizen.”
For Democrats, Cardoza’s exit clears a path for Costa in the redrawn 16th district and ensures an open 21st district, where highly touted state Sen. Michael Rubio (D) is running. Had Cardoza decided to run, Costa likely would have opted to run in the 21st.
The National Republican Congressional Committee includes those two districts on its list of California targets. So far, no Republican is running in the 16th, which is the more Democratic of the two.
Assemblyman David Valadao (R) is running against Rubio in the 21st, a swing district with a 49 percent Latino voting age population. That race promises to be among the most competitive in the state next year.
Cardoza becomes the sixth House Member to announce he is retiring outright this Congress and not seeking another office. To see who else is leaving check out Roll Call's Casualty List.