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Rep. Ferguson to Retire

Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-N.J.), who is just 37 years old, announced Monday morning that he will not seek a fifth term in 2008. He is the second Garden State Republican in two weeks to decide to head for retirement rather than run in a competitive district, and his departure may improve the Democrats’ chances of taking over his seat.

Citing his responsibilities to his wife, Maureen, and his four children, the oldest of whom is just 9 years old, Ferguson said in a statement that, “being a representative in Congress is more meaningful than I had imagined, and I know that now is the right time to step away from public life to focus more on family life while our children are still young.”

Ferguson, who won his 2006 race against state Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D) by fewer than 3,000 votes, was facing a rematch with Stender this cycle. Though Ferguson had a 3-1 cash-on-hand advantage as of Sept. 30, Stender brought in almost as much money as the Congressman in the third quarter of the year.

“After winning re-election in an extraordinarily challenging year for Republicans in 2006 and then witnessing the impressive gains Republicans made in the 7th District just this month, I am confident that Republicans will nominate a candidate who will continue to reflect the mainstream values of voters in the district and be elected as our next representative in 2008,” Ferguson said.

He added that he may be seeking a job in the teaching world.

“Before being elected to Congress, I taught high school and college, and I earned a master’s degree in education policy,” he said. “As I explore other opportunities, I hope to include some time in the classroom to share with students my passion for public service and encourage them to serve others and our country.”

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