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.