Citing sensitive family needs, Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced, has tendered his immediate resignation from the House of Representatives. The surprisingly timed departure takes effect at midnight Wednesday.
A veteran San Joaquin Valley politician first elected to the House in 2002, the 53-year- old Cardoza had previously announced he would not run for reelection. While citing the toxic partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill, he primarily attributed his speeded-up timing to growing burdens on the home front.
“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 said in an interview Monday.
The timing of Cardoza’s resignation means there will be no special election to fill his 18th Congressional District seat, which encompasses parts of San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties. His office staff will remain, taking care of constituent services but steering clear of political advocacy. Cardoza informed most of his staffers of his resignation plans in an emotional telephone conference call Monday.
His departure leaves House Republicans with a 240-190 majority over Democrats, with five House vacancies; by most political assessments, Republicans are favored to retain control of the House following the November elections.
Cardoza had announced last October he would not run for reelection, after the bipartisan California Citizens Redistricting Commission carved the San Joaquin Valley into new House districts. The redistricting essentially left Cardoza the choice of either retiring or facing off against his longtime friend and ally, Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno.
Cardoza was my congressman. If there is a scandal I haven’t caught a whiff of it. He’s always had a clean reputation. But then again so did Condit. I generally liked Cardoza until May 2008 when he switched his endorsement from Hillary to Mr. Onederful.
I guess he’s just taking an early exit. They say Washington is a lousy place to be this time of year anyway.
BTW – I have met him a few times and even had drinks with some of his local staff. Years ago he ran the bowling alley/bar where I met my 2nd ex-wife. But I never held that against him.