Entries in Heath Shuler (3)


Rep. Heath Shuler, N.C. Democrat, Not Seeking 4th Term

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Heath Shuler, the North Carolina chairman of the centrist Democrat Blue Dog coalition, announced Thursday he will not seek a fourth term in the House of Representatives this fall.

He’s the sixth member of the moderate Blue Dog coalition to retire heading into the 2012 election cycle. Twenty-eight Blue Dogs were defeated in 2010, demonstrating how difficult it can be to stay in office as a moderate in an increasingly partisan Congress.

“Last week I spent a lot of time at home with my family discussing the possibility of running for governor of North Carolina. This time of reflection and prayer gave us the opportunity to talk about the best course of action for us as a family moving forward,” Shuler explained in a written statement revealing his decision. “It was during this time that I reached the decision not to seek re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012.”

The North Carolina Democrat’s retirement does not come as too much of a surprise. His district was torn apart during redistricting this year and he has had his eye on the governor’s race in his state, although he ultimately decided against running for that position too.

Shuler, who is just 40 years old, is the twelfth House Democrat to announce his or her retirement this cycle. Seven House Republicans have also decided not to seek re-election.

He said his decision to retire from Congress “is a decision I have weighed heavily over the past few months” but he said he is “ready to refocus my priorities and spend more time at home with my wife Nikol and two young children.”

The former NFL quarterback also made headlines when he sought a position as the University of Tennessee’s athletic director last year, although Shuler was ultimately passed over for the job. Shuler was the third overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft, selected by the Washington Redskins, where he played three seasons before moving on to the New Orleans Saints for one season.

President Obama’s prospects for re-election rest heavily in his ability to hold onto the Tar Heel State’s 15 electoral votes, which he won by a narrow margin in 2008, 49.7-49.4 over Sen. John McCain.

Shuler said he is proud of the work of the Blue Dog Coalition, which suffered the brunt of the Democrats' defeat in the 2010 midterm elections, for putting the country “on a sound fiscal path and promote civility and common-sense solutions amid the divisive, highly-partisan political climate in Washington.”

“Though my time in Congress will come to an end after this year, my work to move our state and country forward will not,” Shuler promised. “Reducing our $15 trillion national debt and crafting bipartisan solutions to the many problems facing our nation remain my highest priorities. Leaving Congress will give me the opportunity to focus my time and energy on these initiatives without the constant demands of a re-election campaign.”

An avowed moderate, Shuler often butted heads with Democratic leaders. He challenged Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi for her position as minority leader “to send a message” to the California Democrat following the Democrats’ loss in the 2010 midterm elections, when more than 60 House Democrats suffered defeat at the hands of the GOP. Shuler won the support of 43 of his colleagues, but it was not enough to overcome Pelosi’s grip on 150 of their Democratic colleagues.

The fiscally conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition was formed in 1995 with the goal of representing the center of the House of Representatives and appealing to the mainstream values of the American public.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


As Pelosi Faces Dissent, President Obama Offers Praise

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi prepares to run for House Minority Leader amidst dissent among Democratic House members, ABC News asked President Obama at a press conference if he feels the Democratic Party would benefit from new blood and new leadership.

“I think Speaker Pelosi has been an outstanding partner for me,” the president said. “I think [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid has been a terrific partner in moving some very difficult legislation forward.  And I'm looking forward to working with the entire leadership team to continue to make progress on the issues that are important to the American people.”

Polls indicate that Pelosi is polarizing, and some Democrats have expressed concern that Democrats lost the House because she pushed an agenda that was too liberal.

Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina this week said that he would challenge Pelosi. 

“It will be very tough,” he said. “It is probably a race we can’t win. But we need a moderate voice in the Democratic Party.”

Even some of Pelosi’s allies in the House have expressed misgivings about her run for House Minority Leader.

“If the Red Sox came in and lost every game of the year and they kept the manager at the end of the year, that’s a problem," Democratic Rep. Michael Capuano of Massachusetts told the Boston Globe. “That’s what we seem to be on the verge of doing."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Pelosi 'Gratified' By Support for Minority Leader

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After announcing her candidacy for House Minority Leader in the next session of Congress, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wrote a second letter to Democratic colleagues, highlighting the support she has received from House Democrats who survived the GOP's landslide victory in the congressional midterm elections last Tuesday.

"In the 24 hours since I wrote seeking your views and your vote for Democratic Leader, I have been very gratified by the extensive and enthusiastic support I have received," Pelosi wrote. "Many of our colleagues, from all areas of our diverse Caucus, have been generous with their ideas and their support.  I am grateful for the confidence that has been placed in me to be House Democratic Leader."

Pelosi is running unopposed so far for the post, although moderate Blue Dog Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina pledged earlier in the week to challenge Pelosi for minority leader if she decided to run. In the brief time since Pelosi made her plans official Friday afternoon, Shuler has not announced his future intentions.

In the letter, Pelosi encouraged those House Democrats who lost reelection on Tuesday to continue their quest and run for Congress in the 2012 election, and also welcomed the handful of new Democrats who were elected to the House in open seats and took down incumbent Republicans.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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