Gordon J. Humphrey, one of the most vocal conservatives in the U.S. Senate, said today he will not seek a third term.
“I’m here today to announce that two terms is plenty,” Humphrey, 48, told a packed news conference in his Concord office. While Humphrey called the power of politics “addictive,” he said another six years in the Senate “would be just too darned long.”
Humphrey sat on the edge of his desk and held up a large No. 2 as he announced that he will return to private life at the end of his second term in January, 1991.
“I do not want to spend 18 years in Congress,” the Republican said. “It becomes a career at that point and I don’t believe people should make a career in Congress.”
Joking, Humphrey suggested that a line of politicians half a mile long will queue up at the secretary of state’s office to file candidacy papers for his job.
One prominent possible candidate is White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu, a former New Hampshire governor who has been thinking about running for the seat.
Humphrey, who has marched with anti-abortion activists and has met with rebels in Afghanistan, had vowed when he first won election that he would serve only two terms. But after his reelection in 1984, he began to signal his intentions to seek another term.
Humphrey is the second Republican senator to announce that he is not seeking reelection. Sen. William L. Armstrong of Colorado announced earlier this year that he would not seek another term.
Humphrey’s wife, Patricia, who attended the news conference with the couple’s two young sons, said she had mixed feelings about the announcement.
“I’ll be glad to have him home, but I think he should have run again,” she said. “I think he was just hitting his stride.”