Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), the nine-term congressman who led anti-abortion rights Democrats in the House during health care negotiations, will retire this year. He is expected to make a formal announce later today:
Had Stupak sought re-election, he would have faced challengers from both the left and the right backed by interest groups angered by Stupak’s health care vote.
Stupak negotiated with Democratic leaders down to the eleventh hour for stricter abortion language in the health care bill, but he ultimately voted for it after President Obama agreed to sign an executive order assuring the new laws will keep taxpayer dollars from funding abortions.
Stupak first informed his party’s leadership that he was considering retiring last week, and he reportedly was called by President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others urging him to run again. There’s a good reason for the telephone calls. Democrats in Washington and Michigan say they fear losing Stupak, a historically popular Democrat in a sprawling conservative district, will mean likely losing his seat to the GOP.
Stupak has represented Michigan’s 1st congressional district, which includes the entire Upper Peninsula and part of the Lower Peninsula, since 1993. He serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.