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In a Surprise, Dooley Will Not Seek Re-election to Eighth Term

In an unexpected development, Rep. Cal Dooley (D-Calif.) announced Tuesday that he will not seek an eighth term in 2004.

“It is time to allow others to serve,” said Dooley, who is stepping down from his Central Valley district despite being only 49 years old.

According to Tuesday’s Fresno Bee newspaper, Dooley’s decision not to seek re-election has fueled speculation that, with two teenage children, he will look for a lucrative lobbying job in Washington, D.C. Before being elected to Congress, Dooley was a cotton, alfalfa and walnut farmer in the San Joaquin Valley.

Dooley serves on the Agriculture and Resources committees and is considered a moderate who has worked well with colleagues on both sides of the aisle. He is a founder of the New Democrat Coalition.

Possible successors include state Assemblywoman Sarah Reyes (D), former state Sen. Jim Costa (D) and Dooley’s chief of staff, Lisa Quigley. Although the district is fairly safe for the Democrats, Republicans held Dooley to 52 percent in 2000 and may try to play there.

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