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Shocker: Rep. Marion Berry Bows Out! (Updated)

Rep. Marion Berry
Berry: Gotta go

Rumors of Arkansas Rep. Marion Berry’s possible retirement from his First District Congressional seat — fueled by a radio interview with KUAR’s Ron Breeding last week in which Berry hedged on the question of whether he was running again — are proving to have been on the mark. Berry’s retirement announcement is pending, and may come as early as Sunday evening.

(UPDATE: Looks like I was a little behind the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, who says the Berry announcement will come tomorrow. Roby Brock at Talk Business has also been working the story.)

On the Republican side, Jonesboro radio man Rick Crawford announced his bid last summer. Meanwhile, The Tolbert Report noted an effort afoot to draft GOP state Rep. Davy Carter to run for the seat. Get ready for an avalanche of Democrats to announce their interest in running for the seat in the coming hours and days.

Makes this a great time to take another look at AP Capitol reporter Andrew Demillo’s weekend assessment that “uncertainty reigns in Arkansas 2010 races.” Good point, Andrew Demillo!

UPDATE: Done deal. Full statement at jump.

Washington, D.C. –   After serving Arkansas’s First Congressional District for 7 terms, Congressman Marion Berry (D-AR, 1st) announced today in the following statement that he would not seek reelection in 2010.

“Since 1997, the people of the First Congressional District of Arkansas have entrusted me to serve them in Washington. It has been an honor I have never taken for granted and for their support I will be eternally grateful. After much prayer and consideration, I have decided it is time for me to return home to Arkansas.  The people deserve a representative who has the ability to rise to the numerous challenges that face our state and our nation. As a lifelong farmer, time has taken its toll on my health and I am no longer able to serve the district with the vitality I once possessed. Therefore, I have decided not to seek reelection in 2010. I am at perfect peace with this decision and look forward to returning to the farm and my home state of Arkansas.”

During his time in Congress, Representative Berry has served on the House Agriculture Committee, the Budget Committee and in 2003 he was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee where he currently serves on the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Energy and Water, and Transportation Housing and Urban Development subcommittees.

Congressman Berry was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1996. Berry, a lifelong resident of Arkansas County, has been recognized for his effective leadership on a range of national issues while fulfilling his commitment to faithfully represent the citizens of the First Congressional District of Arkansas in Washington, D.C.

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17 thoughts on “Shocker: Rep. Marion Berry Bows Out! (Updated)

  • Damn, could Ross and Pryor be the only DEM seats left in AR?

  • Pingback: Rep. Marion Berry To Retire Tomorrow Morning | The Tolbert Report

  • michaellrar

    Yes I would that demoncrat is about ready for the rest home. I bruised my jaw when it dropped after he said the only definite thing in life is death. He left out taxes the demoncrats burden the middle class taxpayers with. I’m glad to hear that he is going to retire. I actually did not realize he was still in office and he represents my district. Maybe Ross and Pryor and all those other Baby Killing Demoncrats will do the country a favor by retiring so they can stop their treasonous ways.

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  • Crash Davis


    That’s a new one and about as stupid as ReThugs or RePugs on the other side.

    Here’s the question, Republicans have a shot at reshaping Arkansas’s congressional delegation.

    But who do they have to run?

    I’m just not seeing a very deep bench, Davy Carter, really? While, on the other side of the aisle, in the 1st you have Dustin McDaniel, who seems the most likely replacement to Berry, assuming he wants the job. On the old gun side, Jim Wood, who has ran for Congress before, is term-limited out of the state auditor’s job. He’s got the money and the deep roots in all those county clerks’ offices that decide races in Arkansas.

    In the 2nd, you’ve got Paul Suskie, Bill Halter, Robbie Wills maybe even Shane Broadway.

    On the Senate side, Blanche Lincoln has the power of incumbency, plus an ag chairmanship and five million bucks in the bank and that’s not including the national money that will be pouring in.

    Boozman is interesting, and it would seem that if he ran against Blanche, it would make for a more exciting race, but who is lined up in the hills to replace him?

    Bisbee? A Hutchinson divorcee? Asa, Jr.? I really don’t know, but if Boozman runs for Senate, would that mean Don Nelms, a Democrat who has been encouraged to run in the past, jump into the race?

    For all the talk of a Republican tide, I don’t know who they would get to run.

  • Cameron Bluff

    The last gubernatorial race was the first in which there was no incumbent in a long, long time. I wonder how long it has been since there was an election cycle in Arkansas in which there were two congressional seats with no incumbent? And, if Boozman looking at a shot for Blanche’s seat, that could mean three open congressional seats in a single election cycle.

    The television stations, radio stations, print media, and a few of the more successful blogs and websites (TAP included) must be licking their chops at all the possible advertising money out there. A contested US Senate seat, two and possibly three contested US Congress seats, and a sprinkling of open constitutional offices will make for one of the most interesting and expensive state-wide election cycles in history.

    David, when all those big advertising bucks start rolling in, don’t forget that $50.00 you owe me, old buddy…

  • Crash: I thought “demoncrats” was a “crazy person says what?” moment as well.

    Cameron: You raise a good point, so I’m drafting up my ad plan right now. It reads “To purchase advertising on The Arkansas Project, please send a large canvas bag full of money with a big dollar sign printed on the side.” I think that should cover it.

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  • I always found it funny how a congressman with a well funded operation put his Jonesboro office in the worst possible place: a street (Huntington Ave.) locally notorious for prostitution. Really, congressional politics is just that, the only thing is that in congress, it’s nearly impossible to figure out exactly who’s the pimp, who’s the hooker, and who’s the john.

  • …I’ll be here all night… Seriously though, wish the guy luck, and may the best new guy win.

  • Fourche River Rex

    I don’t see how any of these post insult Kinkade in any way. I’m disappointed.

  • Fourche River Rex

    You leave Bo Jack’s double first cousin out of this.

  • Cameron Bluff

    Could it be that Sara Palin was referencing Rex when she held her fingers up just barely apart in that recent TAP photo/story? Could it be? Is that what you are inferring David?

  • BonoBlueDog

    Word from Slovak tonight is that Senator Bobby Glover was stumping for Tim
    Wooldridge in the 1st Congressional race. Wooldridge was en route and got
    stuck in weather/traffic and couldn’t make it to the annual Oyster Supper;
    but apparently he’s in the race the Democratic nomination.

    Glover also had him at the Arkansas Rice Growers Association meeting in
    Brinkley yesterday, and I hear it went great.

    A conservative like Wooldridge is the Democrat’s best hope for hanging on
    to the seat! He ran strong…REAL STRONG…dominated the First District
    in his race for Lt. Governor last election. Things are heating up on this snowy night!

  • Could it be that Sara Palin was referencing Rex when she held her fingers up just barely apart in that recent TAP photo/story? Could it be? Is that what you are inferring David?


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