The retirement parade continues in the House of Representatives, with a new and surprising grand marshal for the moment. Mike Rogers, the House Intelligence Committee chair, has served seven terms and risen quickly in Republican leadership, but has decided to retire rather than defend his MI-08 seat. Just a year ago, Rogers sounded as though he’d be sticking around for a while:
Seven-term Republican Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan says he won’t seek re-election.
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee announced his plans on Friday morning during an interview on a Detroit radio station. He says he’ll serve out the end of his term and plans to start a national radio program.
Last year, Rogers had said he would not run for the U.S. Senate in Michigan this year, saying the best way for him to make a difference in Washington is staying in the House.
What changed his mind? Rogers got an offer to host a Detroit talk-radio show:
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers plans to leave Congress after this year to host a talk radio show for Cumulus Media Inc, the Michigan congressman said on Friday.
“I had a career before politics and always planned to have one after. The genius of our institutions is they are not dependent on the individual temporary occupants privileged to serve. That is why I have decided not to seek re-election to Congress in 2014,” the Republican said in a statement.
Speaking earlier to a Detroit radio station, Rogers said he plans to start his Cumulus show in January, the Detroit News reported.
“They may have lost my vote in Congress, but you haven’t lost my voice,” he told WJR-AM, according to the newspaper.
Rogers and I are roughly the same age, and he came to Congress in 2001 at 37. His previous career was at the FBI, investigating corruption and organized crime. His new career will, as he suggests in his statement, be more like his second career than his first. One has to admire, though, the willingness to walk away from Washington instead of sticking around for a lifetime, like one of Rogers’ Michigan colleagues, who’s now attempting to pass the seat held by the family for nearly a century to his wife.
The timing is less admirable, though, or at least more problematic. Until now, there was little reason to think that Rogers and the GOP wouldn’t hold this seat. It’s nominally a swing district with an R+2 rating from Cook, and Mitt Romney won it by three points over Barack Obama in the 2012 election. With the sudden departure of Rogers, a hold here is less certain, especially given the lateness of the decision. It’s unlikely that any Republicans had seriously organized in the district at this point, but Democrats probably have, and the GOP will be at a disadvantage for at least a while in a close district. If this turns out to be a wave election, the timing may not matter much anyway.