Congressman Tim Griffin made a surprise announcement Monday that he will not seek a third term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Republican from Arkansas’ 2nd district says he wants to spend more time with his family.
“It’s something that my wife and I have been talking about, praying about, for the last five, six, seven months and decided to finish my second term of course, but to not seek a third term,” Griffin said in an interview with KUAR.
He wants to spend more time with wife and children, Griffin said.
“When I got elected, I had an infant and a three year old and we were able to manage pretty easily, but its gotten a little more difficult.”
His kids are now three and six.
“There’s a lot of stuff that they do that I miss. I try to minimize that as much as possible and you can’t always avoid that, but there’s not a lot of flexibility in a Congressional schedule because we meet when we meet. So this is the best thing for my family,” Griffin said.
The Republican, who served as an aide to former presidential advisor Karl Rove, said he has “no earthly idea” what he’s going to do next, but that he will continue living in Little Rock and work in some form of public service.
Last November, Griffin was named to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, becoming the first Republican from Arkansas to serve on the tax-writing panel. At the time, Griffin said he would not run for Arkansas governor or the U.S. Senate because of the appointment.
His decision caught even seasoned political observers off guard.
“It was a very big shock. I had no inkling that he would not be running for re-election,” said Hal Bass, a political science professor at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia.
“I do think that political life does make great demands on an individual who accepts the call to public service and I think there are a lot of sacrifices that one has to make if one is going to go all in. And while I think his seat was not as safe as some in Arkansas, I think it was clearly trending Republican in a reasonably solid fashion,” Bass said.
At the Capitol Monday, Gov. Mike Beebe told reporters, “I was surprised.”
“I don’t know if anybody else knew it, but if they did… my sources didn’t tell me that so it was a well kept secret,” Beebe said.
The Governor said this gives Democrats “a reasonably good chance” at winning back the congressional seat, which had long been in Democratic hands.
Former North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays will hold a news conference Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. at the Hays Senior Center in North Little Rock. He has been in talks with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee about running for the seat.
Also Bud Jackson, a former campaign spokesman for former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, put out a statement saying Halter “would be the strongest Democratic candidate for the district and he would help energize base voters there for statewide Democratic candidates.”
Former state Representative Linda Tyler and Conway Mayor Tab Townsell have also been mentioned as possible candidates.
In a statement posted on the website Talk Business Arkansas, Griffin wrote:
Serving the people of the Second Congressional District is an honor, and I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given by my fellow Arkansans. To those who have prayed for and supported me and my family, thank you–thank you for your kindness, commitment, time, trust and understanding.
God has blessed me with a wonderful wife, Elizabeth, and two precious children, and for several months Elizabeth and I have been discussing whether to seek a third term in Congress, especially considering the formative ages of Mary Katherine and John. It has been an agonizing and difficult decision involving much prayer, thought and discussion. We have decided that now is the time for me to focus intently on my top priority, my family, as Elizabeth and I raise our two young children.
To that end, I will not seek reelection to a third term. I will complete my second term, but I have made no decision as to my plans after Congress except that I will continue in public service, including as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve.
In September 2009, I launched my campaign for Congress as a common sense conservative and have kept my word by supporting bold but pragmatic solutions to address our most pressing problems, including a balanced budget, Medicare reform, repeal of Obamacare, tax reform, and regulatory reform. I am proud that the House’s efforts resulted in the Budget Control Act (BCA), the largest spending reduction in American history. I am equally proud that the House has stopped numerous harmful proposals. I choose to be a citizen-legislator rather than a career politician, and I will continue to do my best representing my fellow Arkansans through the remainder of my term.
I believe 2014 will be another historic year for conservatives in Arkansas, and I stand ready to help with that effort and make sure a conservative wins the 2nd Congressional District. Several Democrats have reportedly been looking at running for this seat. As a result, it is imperative that I make and announce my decision now not to seek a third term so that Republican candidates who wish to succeed me will be able to prepare their campaigns and compete on an equal playing field with the Democrats. May God continue to bless Arkansas and the United States of America.