Rep. Dennis Cardoza in Modesto. Cardoza, in a surprise announcement Tuesday,… (Dave Getzschmann / Merced…)
WASHINGTON – Rep. Dennis Cardoza, a Democrat from California’s Central Valley, plans to resign his seat Wednesday rather than retire at the end of the term as he had originally planned.
“Tomorrow, I will be submitting my formal letter of resignation from Congress to Gov. Jerry Brown and Speaker John Boehner, effective midnight Aug. 15,” he said in a statement Tuesday.
Cardoza, a House member since 2003, announced his retirement plans last fall after redistricting scrambled the state’s political boundaries, further shaking up the state’s congressional delegation.
His office said he was unavailable for comment Tuesday, providing instead an interview he gave to the Modesto Bee, in which he said: “In light of the fact that nothing is going to happen for the rest of the year, and in light of the fact that [my wife] and I are facing increasing parenting challenges, this seemed the right time to make this move.” Cardoza and his wife, Kathleen McLoughlin, have three children.
Cardoza in his statement thanked his family, saying, “Each and every one of them has sacrificed to allow me to serve.”
The 53-year-old lawmaker has been a leader of the coalition of moderate to conservative Democrats known as Blue Dogs. He has not been shy about publicly taking on President Obama, a fellow Democrat.
Last fall, in fact, in announcing his plans to retire from his seat, he assailed Obama for not doing enough to stem the housing foreclosure crisis that hit his district hard. He also lamented the “harsh tone in American politics.”