Bart Gordon to Retire

Posted December 14, 2009 at 11:31am

Adding to what has become a steady drip of Democratic retirements in recent weeks, Rep. Bart Gordon, the chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, announced Monday morning that he will step down from 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, I’m one of the oldest,” said Gordon. “In fact, I have members of my staff who weren’t even born when I took office. That tells me it’s time for a new chapter.”

Gordon is the fourth Democratic retirement in as many weeks and the third member of the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats to step down.

Gordon cited family considerations as the reason behind his decision.

“Turning 60 has led me to re-evaluate what’s 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 it’s my turn,” said Gordon.

Gordon’s retirement comes as Republicans have made a lot of noise about targeting his Middle Tennessee seat this cycle.

Republican state Sen. Jim Tracy was on Capitol Hill earlier this month meeting with National Republican Congressional Committee officials about a potential challenge in the 6th district.

Tracy is a second-term state Senator who represents a little more than a third of the districts population in the state house. He is a former teacher also owns an insurance business. If he enters the race he’ll face a contested primary that includes former Rutherford County GOP Chairwoman Lou Ann Zelenik.

“It’s official: Democrats now have a retirement problem,” NRCC spokesman Ken Spain said in a release on Monday. “After being forced to toe the line for Nancy Pelosi’s reckless agenda too many times, Blue Dog Democrats would rather roll over and retire than face the political headwind that is barreling toward them.”