Barney Frank has always been a pretty singular guy. He's one of the only members of the House of Representatives that many people have heard of, for one thing. He's also among the few openly gay congresspeople in U.S. history. A member of the rather exclusive Democrats with Functioning Backbones club. Not to mention, one of an incredibly small subset of American politicians who are totally cool with picking his nose on national television.
So, it is with a heavy heart that I report that at 1 pm today, 71-year-old 16-term Rep. Barney Frank will announce to his constituents in Massachusetts's 4th congressional district and the entire nation that he will not be seeking re-election in 2012…
A close adviser told the Globe today that the new district in which Frank would have had to run next year was a major factor in his decision. While it retained his Newton stronghold, it was revised to encompass more conservative towns while Frank also lost New Bedford, a blue-collar city where had invested a lot of time and become a leading figure in the region’s fisheries debate…
The announcement comes a week after Governor Deval Patrick signed a law creating the new state congressional districts. Another Democrat in the delegation, US Representative John Olver, announced in October that he would not seek reelection next year amid the specter of being forced into a showdown with US Representative Richard E. Neal of Springfield.
As much as the people in his old district, as well as members of his congressional caucus, will surely be sad to see him go, I'm sure no one blames him for his decision. No veteran U.S. politician should ever have to campaign for his seat.
Such exertions are simply not becoming for the ruling class.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Barney Frank, House of Representatives, Massachusetts