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Bart Gordon to Retire in 2010

Updated: 1:25 p.m.Adding to what has become a steady drip of Democratic retirements in recent weeks, Rep. Bart Gordon announced Monday morning that he will not run for re-election in 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,— Gordon said. “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, chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, 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,— Gordon said.Gordon’s retirement comes as Republicans have made a lot of noise about targeting him for defeat. The Republican presidential nominees overwhelmingly carried the 6th district in the 2004 and 2008 White House contests, and Gordon’s departure sets up a prime GOP pickup opportunity next year. State Sen. Jim Tracy (R) was on Capitol Hill earlier this month meeting with National Republican Congressional Committee officials about a potential bid in the 6th district.Tracy, a former teacher who also owns an insurance business, represents a little more than a third of the district’s population in the state Legislature. He said Gordon’s announcement sped up his timetable. “I’m definitely running,— Tracy said. “We’re filing our papers today.— He joins a contested primary that includes former Rutherford County GOP Chairwoman Lou Ann Zelenik. House Republicans wasted little time holding up Gordon’s decision as an indication that Democrats have “a retirement problem””After being forced to toe the line for [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi’s [D-Calif.] reckless agenda too many times, Blue Dog Democrats would rather roll over and retire than face the political headwind that is barreling toward them,” NRCC Communications Director Ken Spain said.Among the early names being floated by Democratic insiders as possible replacements for Gordon are state Rep. Mike McDonald, Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe, state Rep. Hank Fincher, Murfreesboro Mayor Tommy Bragg and former state Sens. Andy Womack and Joann Graves.“We are confident that a Democrat who shares Chairman Gordon’s commitment to putting progress before partisanship on behalf of Middle Tennessee will succeed him as the next Representative of Tennessee’s 6th District,— Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) said in a written statement.

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