WASHINGTON – Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) teared up Thursday as he formally announced plans to retire after more than two decades in
“I should have
“For me, it’s time to walk away,” McKeon, chairman of the
Since 1992, McKeon, 75, has represented a district that currently stretches from the northern edge of the San Fernando Valley through the Antelope Valley and a small portion of Ventura County. It includes a large number of major military facilities.
McKeon cited the
Another factor, however, could be Republican hopes to hang onto the district, which has been trending more toward the
Republicans are apt to have an easier time holding the district in 2014, a midterm election when Democratic turnout could be low, than they would if McKeon had waited until 2016 to leave. If a Republican wins the district this year, the candidate could run for reelection as an incumbent in the tougher political environment of a presidential election year
McKeon has endorsed Republican former state Sen.
Several Democrats, -- including Lee Rogers, a podiatrist who ran against McKeon in 2012, and Evan Thomas, a retired Air Force officer and test pilot -- also have signaled interest in running.
Boehner praised the California congressman for "his deep commitment to our war fighters who keep America free and strong.” McKeon succeeded Boehner as chairman of the
"As political tension continued to rise in Congress, Buck stayed committed to bipartisanship," he said. "While we disagreed, and disagreed on many things, we disagreed in a respectful way that allowed this committee to continue to move forward and achieve its important goals."
McKeon looked back on his political career, dealing with issues big and small, from working to kill a proposed garbage dump in his district to fighting spending cuts to the
Vowing to remain busy in his final year as chairman, including traveling more to Afghanistan and other foreign lands, he ended with a quote from