Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL) suddenly announced her retirement today, the last day for candidates to file for the seat, citing health reasons.
“As I have prepared for my campaign, I have been troubled by persistent health problems and have come to the disappointing and sad conclusion that I cannot run for reelection,” said Brown-Waite. “There are simply too many unresolved issues around my health and my pancreas in particular.”
Brown-Waite has endorsed Hernando County Sheriff Richard Nugent for the seat, and said that he told her during this past week that he would run. The district, located in northern Florida, voted for John McCain by a 56%-43% margin in 2008, and before that for George W. Bush by a 58%-41% margin in 2004.
Brown-Waite was first elected to Congress in 2002, narrowly defeating incumbent Democrat Karen Thurman. During her four terms, she has served on the Financial Services, Homeland Security, and Veterans’ Affairs, and Ways and Means Committees.
Also, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Florida’s middle district recently charged a man for allegedly making a threatening phone call against Brown-Waite, in a voicemail left at her district office. The call came a few days after the vote on the health care bill, in which Brown-Waite voted no along with all other Republicans.