Rep. Barney Frank to Retire
The news has been flying around on Twitter, and CNN has confirmed:
Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, a 16-term Democrat, will announce Monday he does not intend to seek re-election in 2012, according to a statement from Frank's office.
Reportedly there will be a press conference at 1pm Eastern. We will follow up then, or as further news comes in.
Update: Steve Benen provides some context for the announcement:
His retirement comes just a year after a relatively tough re-election fight — Frank won by “only” a 10-point margin, making the 2010 race the toughest of his career — which would have grown even tougher still in 2012 thanks to an unfriendly redistricting process.
Given this, Frank’s departure will give Republicans a pick-up opportunity in the redrawn 4th congressional district, though it’s unclear just yet who the leading candidates will be. Roll Call reported this morning that Alan Khazei, who recently dropped his U.S. Senate primary bid, will likely be in the mix.
But putting all of that aside, it’s worth pausing to appreciate the fact that Barney Frank has had an extraordinary and consequential career — the nation is better off for his efforts — and Capitol Hill is losing its smartest lawmaker.
Update 2: Barney Frank, speaking at his press conference: "Let me be very clear: I will be neither a lobbyist nor a historian" -- unlike Newt Gingrich (zing!). Barney, we will miss your wit. DC is about to get a lot more boring.
By the way, you can watch a livefeed of the presser here.