U.S. Rep Dan Burton, who represents Indiana's fifth congressional district, announced his retirement Tuesday morning.With Burton out of the race, questions are now being asked if others may decide to enter an already crowded field of candidates. Burton did not endorse any candidates in announcing his withdrawal from the race. Some had speculated that Sen. Mike Delph, a former aide to Burton, might enter the race if Burton chose not to seek re-election. By waiting so late to announce, Burton has left little time for late entrants to enter the race and raise the funds necessary to mount a serious campaign. Former U.S. Rep. David McIntosh, former Marion Co. Coroner John McGoff, former U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks and attorney Jack Lugar have all been campaigning for the job for months. McGoff, who has twice sought to unseat Burton in the primary, has been running nonstop for the job for the past five years.
Burton, 73, made the announcement at the Indiana Statehouse, citing a family health problem. He declined to provide details.
Burton, a Republican, who began his career in the U.S. House in 1983, has served 15 terms.
Howey Politics notes that Sen. Delph was the first to tweet Burton's plan to resign this morning after Delph and Burton's brother, State Rep. Woody Burton, met for coffee with Burton this morning at the Marriott Hotel. Burton formally announced his retirement on the floor of the Indiana House of Representatives where he first began his political career many years ago as a state representative. Delph declined to answer a reporter's question about whether he will enter the race. "Today is about Congressman Burton and his service to the state and nation," Delph told Howey.
McIntosh's campaign released the following statement praising Burton's years of service:
"Dan Burton has a long record of serving the people of Indiana by upholding the conservative principles of limited government, personal freedom, and economic prosperity. As a former colleague of Dan's, I am grateful for his leadership over the years on issues that have mattered most to our fellow Hoosiers and Americans. My prayers are with Dan and Samia as they take these next steps in their lives, and we wish them every blessing as they begin a new season in life."McGoff's campaign released the following statement:
"I want to take a moment to reflect on the long service that Congressman Burton has given to the people of central Indiana and our country," said Dr. John McGoff a candidate for Indiana's 5th Congressional District. "He has always been the voice for strong conservative values and that is why voters continued to re-elect him since 1982. This is truly the end of an era."
"At this point, we're not sure as to what the family health concerns are, which Congressman Burton alluded to in his announcement," McGoff added. "But, I want to let him know that my family will keep the Burtons in our daily thoughts and prayers."
In 2008, McGoff mounted the first serious challenge to Congressman Burton and surprised pundits by garnering 45% of the vote.
"Since 2008, I have been firmly dedicated to giving the voters in the 5th District proven leadership with a new voice in Washington," McGoff said, "Today's announcement assures that there will be a new voice representing central Indiana in January 2013. Even with Congressman Burton's announcement today, the message of my campaign to fix Washington, to ensure lower taxes, to create a stronger economy and to maintain a strong national defense for our country remains the same."