WASHINGTON – Florida Rep. Tom Rooney will not run for re-election, he announced on Monday.
"After what will be 10 years in the United States Congress representing the good people of Florida's Heartland, it's time to "hang em up" as my old football coach used to say. … I look forward to serving Florida again in the future in a different capacity. Keep the faith. Slainte! Rooney out.
The decision, while sudden, is not terribly surprising and a number of veteran lawmakers have announced retirements, including fellow Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami.
Rooney, R-Okeechobee, has become frustrated with Washington and Congress. He backed Marco Rubio in the presidential campaign then un-endorsed Donald Trump after the Access Hollywood tape surfaced. That caused some friction as Trump performed well in Rooney's district.
Rooney has expressed frustration with the constant partisanship and was deeply affected by the shooting at the GOP Congressional baseball practice.
In an interview with the New York Times Magazine last summer, Rooney hinted at his decision.
Rooney told me he did not know if he would run for re-election next year, but said he was reluctant to be too critical of Trump, in case he did. Like many of his colleagues, he is ambivalent about the president, but his frustrations with Washington long predate Trump's arrival. His fondest hope for change with Trump was that Republicans might finally accomplish things. ''Things do need to change,'' he told me. The shooting, and the feeling of vulnerability it engendered, would be something he considered in his ''Is it worth it?'' calculus.
"After what will be 10 years in the United States Congress representing the good people of Florida's Heartland, it's time to 'hang 'em up,' as my old football coach used to say. I will not be running for re-election to Congress in 2018," Rooney said.
"I want to thank my constituents for allowing me the opportunity to serve them in Washington. I also want to recognize the amazing team that has worked alongside for the people of Florida's 16th and 17th districts over five terms, especially Chief of Staff Jess Moore, District Director Leah Valenti, Field Rep Sherry McCorkle, and Office Manager Dean Lester who have been with me since the beginning.
To my colleagues in the House: Representatives Herrera-Buetler, Hunter, Kinzinger, Roby, Yoder, and Dold, your unyielding friendship and loyalty will never be forgotten.
Most of all, I would like to thank my family, especially my mom and dad, my wife Tara and my sons Tommy, Sean Patrick, and Seamus. You have sacrificed so much so I could follow my dreams. Now it's time for me to better support yours.
I look forward to serving Florida again in the future in a different capacity. Keep the faith. Sláinte!"