California Rep. Dennis Cardoza announced Thursday he won’t seek re-election next year, adding to a growing list of House Democrats who are calling it quits.
Mr. Cardoza, who has served five terms and represents California’s agriculture-dependent Central Valley, said he will “energetically continue my efforts to improve California as a private citizen.”
But in a move uncharacteristic for congressional retirement announcements, Mr. Cardoza had some harsh words for President Obama, saying he was “dismayed” by the administration’s “failure to understand and effectively address the current housing foreclosure crisis.”
“Home foreclosures are destroying communities and crushing our economy, and the administration’s inaction is infuriating,” he said.
California political watchers said one factor in Mr. Cardoza’s decision was likely the state’s revamped congressional district lines following the 2010 census, which would have required him to run against fellow Democratic Rep. Jim Costa in a redrawn district.
The Democrat also criticized the broadcast media for its “general lack of attention to moderate members of Congress, and their failure to recognize those members of all ideologies who work together to build consensus and solve problems.”
“The constant focus on ‘screamers’ and the ‘horse race’ of elections is smothering useful discourse and meaningful debate of public policy,” he said. “This, in turn, is fueling the increasingly harsh tone in American politics.”
Mr. Cardoza, 52, is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate and conservative Democrats in the House, whose membership list also has dwindled since the 2010 congressional elections.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called her him “a stalwart advocate for his constituents and a leading moderate voice in Congress.”
Mr Cardoza is the sixth House Democrat to announce that they will step down at the end of their current two-year term, which expires in early January 2013. Seven other Democrats in the chamber are seeking other elected offices, while another three resigned this year without finishing their terms.
No House Republican has announced retirement plans, while seven are running for other offices. One House Republican resigned this year.