In a major stunner, U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., announced Monday he will not run for reelection in November.
Rooney, who has been mentioned as a possible candidate for higher office, said he would not run for a sixth term. Jake Sherman from Politico first reported the news.
"After what will be 10 years in the United States Congress representing the good people of Florida's Heartland, it's time to ‘hang em up’ as my old football coach used to say,” Rooney said in the statement he released on Monday.
Rooney opened the door at the start of 2015 to run for the U.S. Senate if U.S. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. decided not to run for a second term but ultimately pulled back. Rubio ran for a second term and kept his seat.
With his service in the Army, including teaching law at West Point, and his family connections to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Rooney looked like a possible candidate for Republicans down the road. However, Rooney was very critical of Donald Trump’s presidential bid and did not endorse him or any of his rivals which could hurt him in a Republican primary down the road.
Rooney’s name had been thrown around for the Senate in 2018, especially if Gov. Rick Scott decides not to take on U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and for other offices including attorney general and state CFO.
As he bowed out on Monday, Rooney thanked his family and his staff and he did open the door to running for office down the road.
“I look forward to serving Florida again in the future in a different capacity,” Rooney said in the statement.
With Rooney leaving the House, Republicans have another seat to defend in Florida as U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is also retiring from Congress while U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis is running for governor. This is a solidly Republican district with Rooney winning by large margins in recent years.