Rep. David Obey is expected to announce his retirement at a press conference later today.
In a major blow to Democrats, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey has told close associates that he will not seek reelection. An announcement of his plans is expected as early as Wednesday.
The Wisconsin Democrat faces tough poll numbers at home, but until Tuesday night his staff had insisted he was running aggressively and had hired campaign staff. But a person close to him confirmed the decision to POLITICO Wednesday and said Obey was preparing to make a statement.
A news conference has been called at 1 p.m., and Obey staff indicated he would announce his plans then.
Republicans are already hiring decorators to take over his office, it appears.
When POLITICO contacted Sean Duffy, a leading Republican candidate for Obey’s seat back in Wisconsin, he was incredulous.
“Is this a prank call?” Duffy asked.
When Duffy was assured that the news was real, his phone started ringing on the other line: “I’ve got to go. I’m blowing up.”
Duffy, best-known nationally for his appearance on the Real World a decade ago, is the Ashland County District Attorney.
“This move clears the way for Duffy to be the next congressman from northwest Wisconsin. His campaign has gotten national attention and he’s running a very well-oiled grassroots machine,” said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Tom Erickson.
Rep. Obey is holding a press conference shortly. I'll update this post with any details.