Louisiana: Baker Acknowledges He’ll Leave House Soon

Posted January 15, 2008 at 4:59pm

Rep. Richard Baker (R) released a statement Tuesday acknowledging that he will be leaving Congress soon to serve as president and chief executive officer of the Managed Funds Association.

Baker, who has represented the Baton Rouge-based 6th district for 11 terms and has risen to be one of the top Republicans on the Financial Services Committee, had been in talks with the hedge fund industry trade association since earlier this month.

“I have been honored to represent the people of the Sixth District of Louisiana for almost 22 years,” Baker said in a statement. “I have come to appreciate greatly the vital role played by the alternative investment industry in our economy … . I look forward to continuing work to ensure the United States capital markets remain the strongest in the world.”

In his statement, Baker said that he plans to resign his seat no later than Feb. 6. It is not clear when a special election to replace him would be held.

Baker’s departure has left the GOP scrambling to find a candidate in the Republican-leaning district, while state and national Democrats already were coalescing around the recently announced candidacy of state Rep. Don Cazayoux (D).

But Republicans remain confident they can hold a district that gave President Bush 59 percent of the vote in 2004.

“The Sixth Congressional District of Louisiana has a continually and overwhelmingly elected Republican representation and we expect that trend will continue,” National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) said in a statement. “There are several strong candidates that have already come forward and the NRCC will be meeting with them over the next several weeks.”
— John McArdle