UPDATE: Central Illinois Congressman Tim Johnson has confirmed he plans to retire at the end of his current term and is dropping his 2012 re-election bid.
A Republican Party official says veteran Congressman Tim Johnson intends to drop his bid for a seventh term and retire. The official told The Associated Press that the 65-year-old career politician is expected to make an official announcement today. Last fall, during a GLT interview, Johnson was asked by Willis Kern if he was ready to retire.
Johnson: "Not that I know of. Unless you know something that I don't." Kern: "Ok, I'm just checking. I just owe it to our listeners to find out if this will be your last term in Congress." Johnson: "No. No, although if the voters have a plan to make it my last term in Congress, I guess it will be."
Sources say the six-term Urbana Republican feels the seat is safe for the party to hold onto since David Gill is the likely Democrat opponent in November. Although pundits say the 13th district leans slightly toward the Democrats, Johnson has already defeated Gill three times. Johnson this year said he would introduce legislation to let members of Congress to work outside of public office. When asked in January what he would do outside of politics, Johnson hinted at one career he might pursue:
"I don't think those of you who know me think that I'm probably going to vegetate. I'm not going to sit home and watch All My Children, soap operas all day. I probably want to do something else, and yes, if this bill passes, I would very much consider going back to the law practice. And that might be something I would do at some point in the future anyway."
Before being elected to Congress for the first time in 2000, Johnson served in the Illinois General Assembly for nearly 25 years. If he leaves politics now, he will have never lost an election.
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