The list of Great Lakes lawmakers who will not return to Congress in January continues to grow by the week. And there are some very heavy hitters on the list. This week, another resignation and a failed primary bid seal the fate of two more Great Lakes policymakers.
U.S. Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) will resign his seat on Friday after admitting to having an affair with a part-time staffer. Rep. Souder had just won a tough primary against car dealer Bob Thomas.
“It is with great regret I announce that I am resigning from the U.S. House of Representatives as well as resigning as the Republican nominee for Congress in this fall’s election,’’ Souder wrote, “I sinned against God, my wife, and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff. . . . I am so shamed to have hurt those I love.’’
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) will have to decide if there will be a special election to replace Souder on the ballot.
In another upset, Pennsylvania Democrats failed to endorse Sen. Arlene Specter during yesterday’s primary. Sen. Specter, who switched political parties in a last-ditch effort to hold onto his seat, has supported Great Lakes restoration in the past. State Dems threw their support behind U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak. Rep. Sestak is a co-sponsor of the Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection Act. If elected to the U.S. Senate, we will urge him to continue to champion Great Lakes restoration.
In addition to Specter and Souder, the Great Lakes restoration campaign will be saying goodbye to a number of Great Lakes advocates who are retiring after years of respectable service, they include: Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.), Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.), Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.).