Barney Frank Re-election – US Representative Barney Frank, the state’s highest-profile congressman and one of the nation’s leading liberal voices after being among its first openly gay elected officials, announced today that he will not seek reelection next year.
The Newton Democrat faced the prospect of a bruising reelection campaign next year after surviving a brutal battle in 2010. He also would have run in an altered district that retained his Newton stronghold but encompassed more conservative towns like Walpole.
In addition, Frank lost New Bedford, a blue-collar city where he had invested a lot of time and become a leading figure in the region’s fisheries debate.
“I don’t have to pretend to be nice to people I don’t like,” the famously irascible Frank told reporters and supporters during an early afternoon news conference at Newton City Hall.
Turning serious, he said: “It would have been a rough campaign,” adding, “I don’t like raising money.”
As for his future plans, he answered with a barely veiled shot at Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
“I will neither be a lobbyist nor a historian,” said Frank, noting two jobs that have enriched Gingrich since he stepped down as House speaker. Frank said he intends to pursue “some combination of writing, teaching, and lecturing.”
He also offered an interesting regret: “I voted against President Bush, the first, request to go into Iraq,” he said of the congressional vote that preceded the 1991 Persian Gulf War after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.
“If we were back again, I would have voted for that,” said Frank.
The current president, fellow Democrat Barack Obama, said, “This country has never had a congressman like Barney Frank, and the House of Representatives will not be the same without him.”