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Rep. Dennis Cardoza says he won't run again

October 20, 2011 | 11:04 am

Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Atwater), a leader of the coalition of moderate to conservative Democrats known as Blue Dogs, announced Thursday that he will not seek reelection next year in the Central Valley, further scrambling the state’s congressional delegation in the wake of a new political map that put him and a number of his colleagues at risk.

The announcement averts a possible showdown between Cardoza, 52, a House member since 2003, and  Democratic colleague Jim Costa, in a new district drawn up by a citizens’ commission rather than lawmakers.

Cardoza, in announcing his decision, assailed the Obama administration for not doing enough to stem the housing foreclosure crisis that has hit his district hard and the "harsh tone in American politics.’’

“After nearly 20 years in elected office, I offer this advice: Voters need to reward statesmanship," he said in a statement. "Too many Americans are losing faith in our government and our democracy.  For our country to change course, voters must aggressively punish extreme partisanship and rhetoric when they cast their ballots."

Cardoza’s district includes Merced County and portions of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Madera and Fresno counties. Cardoza previously served six years in the state Assembly before succeeding his onetime boss, ex-Rep. Gary Condit.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) also has announced that she will be retiring when her term expires, and Rep. Bob Filner (D-Chula Vista) is running for mayor of San Diego. Several other House members are gearing up to run against members of the same party in new districts.

--Richard Simon in Washington