Friday April 9, 2010, 1:06 p.m.
Congressman Bart Stupak says he's retiring this year because "it's time to begin a new and exciting chapter."
Stupak said during a news conference Friday that he made the decision within the last 36 hours not to seek a 10th term. He says he felt his main legislative goal--a national health care overhaul--was accomplished.
The 58-year-old anti-abortion Democrat had been targeted for defeat by tea party activists for his crucial role in securing House approval of the health care overhaul.
Stupak says he could have won re-election. He insists he wasn't being chased from the race by the Tea Party Express, which is holding rallies this week in Escanaba calling for his ouster.
Click here to read Bart Stupak's entire statement from his Friday afternoon press conference at NMU.
Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak tells The Associated Press he'll retire from Congress rather than seek a tenth term this year.
Stupak has drawn stinging criticism from opponents of the recently enacted health care overhaul after leading a bloc of anti-abortion Democrats whose last-minute support was crucial to its approval by the House.
The Tea Party Express is calling for his defeat at rallies in his sprawling northern Michigan district this week. But Stupak tells the AP the attacks didn't influence his decision and he could win re-election if he tried.
He plans to announce his decision at a 12:30 p.m. news conference at the Superior Dome on the campus of Northern Michigan University.
Stupak says he wants to spend more time with his family and start a new career after 18 years in Congress.
Click here to see a live webcast of the announcement at the Superior Dome presented by Northern Michigan University.