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Rep. Vic Snyder to Retire

Updated: 6:33 p.m.Citing family concerns, Arkansas Rep. Vic Snyder (D) announced Friday that he’ll retire rather than run for an eighth term.“I have concluded that these election-year forces are no match for the persuasive and powerful attraction of our three one-year old boys under the leadership of their three-year old brother, and I have decided not to run for re-election,— Snyder said in a written statement. “It is the greatest professional honor of my life to represent Arkansas in the U.S. House of Representatives, and I am so grateful to the people of Arkansas to have had this wonderful opportunity. That honor will now pass to someone else at the conclusion of this term.—Democrats in Washington, D.C., were quick to float the names of Lt. Governor Bill Halter, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola and state Public Service Commissioner Paul Suskie as possible candidates who could fill Snyder’s shoes in the 2nd district. Halter is publicly contemplating a primary challenge to potentially vulnerable Sen. Blanche Lincoln this year.“We are confident that a Democrat who shares Congressman Snyder’s commitment to being an independent voice for addressing the economic challenges facing Arkansas’ middle class families will be the next Representative from Arkansas’ 2nd District,— Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) said in a statement Friday night. Snyder becomes the fifth House Democrat to announce his retirement since late 2009, following Reps. Dennis Moore (Kan.), Brian Baird (Wash.) and Bart Gordon and John Tanner of Tennessee — all of whom represent competitive districts. His move will do nothing to tamp down Republican claims that Democrats are bolting off a sinking ship in Washington.Snyder had been facing declining polling numbers and a well-funded challenger in former U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin. A poll commissioned by the liberal blog Firedoglake and released Thursday night showed Snyder down 17 points to Griffin. And while Griffin is expected to report close to $300,000 in cash on hand in his upcoming Federal Election Commission report, Snyder had yet to raise any money for his re-election effort in keeping with a pledge not to fundraise in the off-year.Snyder said Friday that his doubts about seeking another term had mounted in recent weeks.“Two weeks ago my campaign manager came on board, but that first morning I advised him to do nothing to begin the campaign because of my doubts regarding running,— he said. “The onset of the new year, the time I always begin organizing my campaigns, did nothing to remove these doubts.—Snyder’s decision automatically turns his conservative Little Rock-based seat into a key Republican pickup opportunity, and Republicans wasted little time touting their prospects for November.“Whomever the Democrats nominate as their sacrificial lamb will be facing a formidable candidate in Griffin and running in a state that has proved to be ground zero for fever-pitch opposition to the Obama-Pelosi agenda — and any hapless Democrat who seeks to advance that agenda in Washington,— National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Andy Sere said.Arkansas’ 2nd district is socially conservative and voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) by a 10-point margin in the 2008 presidential contest.

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