California Rep. Dennis Cardoza said Tuesday he was quitting Congress before the end of his term. The Democrat’s resignation is effective midnight Wednesday.
The five-term congressman said in October he wouldn’t run for re-election this year, but his abrupt departure this week came as a surprise. He gave no reason for quitting in statement released by his office, but he told McClatchy newspapers that his decision was based on “increasing parenting challenges.”
Mr. Cardoza and his wife, Kathleen McLoughlin, have three children — two of them adopted.
“It has been a tremendous honor to have been entrusted to represent my friends and neighbors from California’s Central Valley,” he said. “The real honor of serving in Congress is not working in historic buildings, but in laboring with so many unbelievably talented and dedicated individuals who serve our nation daily.”
The law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips issued a statement saying Mr. Cardoza, 53, was joining its Washington office as managing director of its federal government affairs and public policy practice.
James Bonham, chairman of the firm’s federal government affairs and public policy division, said he was thrilled to land Mr. Cardoza because “a lot of firms were recruiting Dennis.”
“His expertise with California issues, as well as his deep experience and insight into both federal and state affairs, makes him a terrific resource,” Mr. Bonham said.
Mr. Cardoza served on the House Agriculture and Foreign Affairs committees. He also was a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate-to-conservative House Democrats whose numbers have dwindled in recent years.
It’s uncertain when a special election will he held for the rest of his term, which expires in early January.
Political experts have speculated that a factor in Mr. Cardoza’s decision not to seek re-election was the the state’s revamped congressional district lines following the 2010 census, which significantly altered his district.
When announcing his retirement last year, Mr. Cardoza — in a move uncharacteristic for such an occasion— 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.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a fellow California Democrat, on Tuesday praised him for his work in helping “stem the foreclosure crisis firsthand in his own district.”
“He has been a dogged advocate in demanding action, progress and accountability in addressing the housing needs for the people of California’s Central Valley and for all Americans,” she said in the prepared statement. “We wish him and his family well.”