GOP rep to retire, opening 10th Florida seat

GOP rep to retire, opening 10th Florida seat
© Curt Clawson the outsider for Congress

Rep. Curt Clawson (R-Fla.) said Thursday night he will not seek reelection, creating the 10th open seat in the Sunshine State’s congressional delegation.

Florida colleagues said Clawson didn’t appear to be enjoying his job in Congress. But in a statement, he said he was stepping down to spend more time with his elderly father and family.

“Since my mother’s passing last year, our family has gone through significant change and transition,” Clawson said. “I believe that now is a good time to pass the baton and spend more time close to home."

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Clawson, a former Purdue University basketball star and executive of an auto-parts supplier, had been new to politics upon his election. He won a special election less than two years ago to replace GOP Rep. Trey Radel in South Florida’s deep-red 19th Congressional District; Radel had resigned after being busted for possession of cocaine.

A member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, Clawson was one of 25 Republicans who voted against John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerEthics panel reprimands Freedom Caucus chairman over handling of harassment allegations Pelosi allies rage over tactics of opponents Meet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time MORE for Speaker in January 2015. He also cast his vote against Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow this year’s freshmen can save the Congress — and themselves Democrat Katie Porter unseats GOP's Mimi Walters Amazon fleeced New York, Virginia with HQ2 picks MORE for Speaker last October, instead backing a Florida colleague, Rep. Daniel Webster.

With Clawson’s departure, the large Florida delegation will experience even more changes. Nine other House members from Florida already had announced they were retiring or running for higher office, and Florida Republican Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillary advisers battle over whether she’ll run in 2020 Rubio defends '3 point kick' analogy: 'You think everyone who follows politics knows what a field goal is?' Lawmakers to introduce bipartisan bill targeting China's treatment of Muslims MORE won’t be returning to the Senate after his failed presidential bid.

Four House lawmakers are retiring to run for Rubio’s Senate seat: Republicans Ron DeSantis and David Jolly and Democrats Patrick Murphy and Alan GraysonAlan Mark GraysonFlorida's Darren Soto fends off Dem challenge from Alan Grayson Live results: Arizona and Florida hold primaries The Hill's Morning Report: Frustration mounts as Republicans blow up tax message MORE.

Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) is also calling it quits, as are GOP Reps. Richard Nugent and Ander Crenshaw and Democratic Rep. Gwen Graham.

In his statement, Clawson reiterated his belief in the need for citizen legislators at a time when career politicians are the norm.

"Our political system is well served when qualified folks from other fields take a temporary turn participating in the governing bodies of our great country,” he said.

Also on Thursday, freshman Rep. Mark Takai (D-Hawaii) said he’ll retire after this term as he battles cancer.