Rep. Bart Stupak formally announced his retirement Friday afternoon, saying that he felt it was time given that he had been fighting for a comprehensive health care law since he was first elected in 1992.
“My main legislative goal was accomplished,” Stupak said.
He dismissed the idea that he was stepping down because of the pressure from activists opposing his reelection. “I don’t run away from battles,” he said.
The idea of Stupak as a fighter who stands up for his principles was also conveyed in preceeding remarks from his wife Lori.
“His word is his bond,” she said about her husband. “He stands true to his convictions.”
Specifically, she insisted, “He has always held firm with his belief in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.”
She complained that during the health care debate, they had been deluged by calls, mostly from outside the district, some that were “vulgar, cruel, profane and threatening.”
Bart Stupak told reporters that he discussed the move with his family when they attended the NCAA Final Four tournament over the weekend, with his son telling him, “Dad, It’s time.”
By announcing the news now, Stupak said, he will allow Democratic hoping to replace him to organize campaigns and collect signatures before the May 11 filing deadline.
“I’ve seen the Republican field, and I’m obviously not impressed,” he said. “In my estimation, it’s one of the weakest fields I’ve seen in some time. I think there are many Democrats who can hold my seat.
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