Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas), the chairman of the Hispanic Caucus, is retiring in 2012 after 14 years in office.
“I still find the job hugely rewarding, but the demands pull me somewhere else,” Gonzalez told the San-Antonio Express News. “[F]inancially I would like to be productive and have the resources to make a better life.”
Gonzalez has held the 20th district seat for seven terms. He replaced his father, Henry Gonzalez, who represented the district from 1961 to 1998.
His decision opens up a heavily-Democratic district and makes life easier for a number of Democrats in South Texas.
State Rep. Joaquin Castro has already announced his plans to run for the seat. Former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez is now looking at running in the 35th district, where Castro was originally planning to compete. That means state Rep. Pete Gallego won’t have to face Rodriguez in the primary for the 23rd district.
Gonzalez was among the Democrats who challenged Texas’ Republican-drawn redistricting map earlier this year. The GOP map cut the congressman’s home out of his district; however, he was still expected to easily win re-election. Federal judges drew an interim map in response to allegations that the Republican map disenfranchised minority voters. The state is challenging the decision.