ONTD Political

Barney Frank not seeking re-election in 2012

4:22 pm - 11/28/2011
Washington (CNN) -- U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, a prominent 16-term liberal Democrat from Massachusetts and arch-enemy of political conservatives nationwide, announced Monday that he does not intend to seek re-election in 2012.

Frank, 71, said his decision to retire from Congress was prompted partly by changes made to the boundaries of his U.S. House district. As part of Massachusetts' recently concluded redistricting process, Frank's 4th Congressional District will lose the heavily Democratic blue-collar port city of New Bedford while gaining several smaller, more conservative towns.

"I will miss this job, (but) the district is very substantially changed," with roughly 325,000 new constituents, Frank told reporters. The veteran congressman said he was planning to retire after 2014 regardless, but said he didn't "want to be torn" next year between the need to serve his existing constituents, reach out to new district residents and protect his signature Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform law.

President Barack Obama issued a statement praising Frank's public service, calling the congressman a "fierce advocate for the people of Massachusetts and Americans everywhere who needed a voice."

While Massachusetts' entire House delegation is Democratic, local Republicans insist Frank's retirement will put the reconfigured district in play.

"It is clear that Congressman Frank was not looking forward to another hard fought campaign after losing his gerrymandered district and spending nearly every penny he had in 2010," Massachusetts Republican Party Executive Director Nate Little said in a written statement.

"Republicans were already gearing up for a strong race and Frank's sudden retirement injects added optimism and excitement into the election."

Frank, first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1980, is the top Democrat on the powerful House Financial Services Committee. The controversial 2010 Dodd-Frank measure, designed to rein in Wall Street excesses after the 2008 financial collapse, passed the House without any GOP support.

Frank made headlines earlier in his career by becoming one of the first openly gay members of Congress. He was formally reprimanded by the House in 1990 for allegations relating to his association with a male prostitute.

Launching his career as an aide to Boston Mayor Kevin White in the late 1960s, Frank quickly became known for an acidic political wit.

"One of the advantages to me of not running for office is I don't even have to pretend to try to be nice to people I don't like," Frank joked with reporters Monday. "Some of you may not think I've been good at it, but I've been trying."

Frank's current district -- which extends from the affluent, liberal Boston suburbs of Newton and Brookline to the cities of New Bedford and Fall River -- is considered safe Democratic political terrain. Frank did, however, receive an unusually strong challenge from Republican Sean Bielat in 2010.

Frank ultimately defeated Bielat, 54% to 43%.

kittymink 30th-Nov-2011 02:42 am (UTC)
I would rather have a 100% religious right bigot because at least you know where they stand. And they're easier to fight. At least they're honest, rather than Frank who claims he's on your side while doing the oppposite. His actions have served to divide LGBT people from each other.

Frank is also very, very far from perfect - he's a transphobe.

Frank and his type have already thrown people like me under the bus, so no sympathy from me there. And no "solidarity" either - for people like him it's just a word.
zombieroadtrip 30th-Nov-2011 07:59 am (UTC)
Excuse you, kittymink, don't you know ~solidarity~ means we should shut up when a politician says gross, transphobic things? Think of all the good things he's doing... while also invoking trans* bathroom panic!

His actions have served to divide LGBT people from each other.

THIS. Trans* people sure as hell didn't create this divide, this sits squarely with the cis gay (and male for the most part) community.
tinyrevolution 30th-Nov-2011 11:51 pm (UTC)
I just don't know how I feel about this.

Frank is by far the lesser of many evils. In a contest between him and, say Lindsey Graham, I'm pretty sure I'd vote for him. As much as I'd wince doing it.

They're all just cissexist cis people, as is almost everyone in congress. On some level, they all claim to be "allies", too. If BF is a queer jewish progressive cis man pushing non-inclusive ENDA, and 100 other congressppl are str8 evangelical warmongering laissez-faire DOMA-pushing cis men, how is one more "honest" than the other? Aren't they all being honest about their positions?
kittymink 1st-Dec-2011 06:10 pm (UTC)
The dishonesty is from Frank claiming to be a friend of "lgbt" ppl when he's not a friend of the "t". The LGB - mostly gay cis men in this instance - will often claim to be for trans people because they think its "politically correct" and the right thing to say - but the reality is that many just don't give a crap about trans people and worse are quite definitely, virulently, transphobic. This ends up hurting the LGBT community (as it is) by 1) screwing over trans people and 2) dividing us from each other.

Also, I'm Jewish and I'm not sure how Frank being Jewish qualifies anything - unless he's fighting antisemitism. Cantor's Jewish and so is Lieberman and I wouldn't vote for either of them

I wouldn't vote for Frank or the Republican, I'd vote for a third party candidate if I had to - I'd think there'd be a Green Party cadidate in Frank's district. If there was or not, I work hard for an alternative.
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