House races

Citing ‘family needs,’ Rep. Cardoza resigns and joins DC law firm

Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) is resigning immediately from Congress and taking a job with a Washington law firm.

The five-term lawmaker, who did not plan to run for reelection, told the Sacramento Bee that he was stepping down due to “sensitive family needs.” His resignation is effective midnight Wednesday.

In his resignation statement, Cardoza thanked his staff and several lawmakers, including Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), giving a special thanks to the Blue Dog Coalition, saying “Long may you bark.”

{mosads}The five-term lawmaker told the Bee that the dwindling prospects of major legislative work in the coming months, coupled with heightened personal needs, were ushering him to a speedier exit.

“In light of the fact that nothing is going to happen for the rest of the year, and in light of the fact that (my wife) and I are facing increasing parenting challenges, this seemed the right time to make this move,” he told the newspaper in an interview.

Cardoza isn’t leaving Washington, however. He has accepted a position with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips as managing director of the law firm’s government affairs and public policy practice. 

The firm, which is registered to lobby Congress, announced Cardoza’s hire just a few hours after his statement of resignation.

“The Manatt connection to government is well known, and the firm’s high-level advocacy, eminent reputation and strategic client counseling make this transition into the private sector an exciting one. I am pleased to join such a talented team,” Cardoza said in a statement from Manatt.

The timing of Cardoza’s resignation means there will not be a special election to fill his seat. Instead, his staff will remain in his Washington office to assist constituent needs until a new member is elected and sworn in.

When Cardoza announced his decision to not pursue reelection in October, he cited the “increasingly harsh tone” of American politics as a major reason. He also faced challenges from redistricting; he may have had to face off against a fellow California Democrat, Rep. Jim Costa.

Cardoza ended his statement with a special thank you to his family: “Above all, I want to thank my family.  Each and every one of them has sacrificed to allow me to serve.  My mother and father, who are no longer with us but were so proud to see me sworn in, provided me the education, foundation and morals to serve.  My brother, his family, and my children have sacrificed greatly.  And of course, I am grateful to my wife Kathie, who has been at my side since the beginning, and who still writes notes of inspiration and tapes them to my bathroom mirror when times are tough.  I love you all. You are so special.”

— This story was last updated at 4:40 p.m.

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