Rep. Norm Dicks, the well-liked top Democrat on the House Appropriations today plans to announce that he is not running for a 19th consecutive term, a sign Republicans suggest indicates that the Democratic leadership isn’t confident of retaking the chamber in the fall.
House sources said that the Washington lawmaker, who was first elected to the House in 1976, will announce his plans as early as noon. He has been calling allies to inform them of his retirement. He is in a safe House district and faced no major election challenge. His office didn’t respond to questions, but two other House sources confirmed the retirement tip.
Insiders said that of all top Democrats, Dicks would have stayed around if the party really had a good shot at re-installing Nancy Pelosi as speaker. “He would have been chairman of the most powerful committee in the House. That’s worth staying for,” said a House leadership adviser.