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House Intel Chair Rogers of Michigan won't seek re-election

Mar. 28, 2014 - 09:01AM   |  
Mike Rogers
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said he won't seek re-election during an interview Friday on Detroit radio station WJR-AM. He says he'll serve out the end of his term and plans to start a national radio program. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP)
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DETROIT — Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, announced Friday morning that he will not run for re-election this year.

The seven-term congressman — who has been a key ally of House Speaker John Boehner and frequent guest of Sunday morning political talk shows — said he will step down at the end of his term, which ends early next year. Rogers said he is stepping down to start a radio show to discuss conservative and national security issues.

"I believe in being a conservative media you have to move the ball forward," Rogers said. He added, "that voice is missing."

He said the show will begin in January 2015. Cumulus, which owns and operates radio stations across the U.S., put out a statement timed with Rogers' announcement saying he brings "unique perspective as a leading intelligence expert" and "has played a key role shaping critical national security policies."

"As a media-savvy politician who last year appeared on more Sunday public affairs shows than any other elected official in the nation, Chairman Rogers will play an important role helping Americans understand critical issues that impact their lives," the company said.

The announcement was widely rumored Thursday evening as a Washington media outlet erroneously reported that Rogers was stepping down as chairman but then pulled back the story. Rogers made the announcement of his retirement himself this morning on WJR's Paul W. Smith show.

Rogers, 50, has been the chairman of the Intelligence panel since 2011, selected for that job by Boehner. At the time, Michigan had three top committee chairmen – Rogers, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp and Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton.

Rogers was listed at No. 21 in Defense News’ 2013 edition of the “100 Most Influential People in US Defense” list.

The announcement came as a surprise given that this time last year, Rogers was considered a leading candidate to run for the Republican nomination to replace Sen. Carl Levin, a Democrat who is stepping down at the end of the year. Rogers joins Levin and Democratic Rep. John Dingell as congressional mainstays for Michigan planning to leave at the end of this term.

Rogers has been an often-seen guest on Sunday talk shows regarding government intelligence operations and defended programs that allowed the government to widely collect information through efforts that have been criticized, including by some fellow Republicans.

He also wasn't above criticizing extreme elements in his party when necessary. In October, he told former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Huckabee's radio show that he thought Republicans, in allowing the government to shut down over Democrats' refusal to change the health care law, had "picked a fight" they couldn't win.

A former FBI agent, Rogers was also briefly discussed as a possible FBI director to replace Robert Mueller, being endorsed by an agents organization. James Comey got the job.

Rogers served in the state Senate from 1994 until 2001, when he entered Congress, moving into a seat that had previously been held by Sen. Debbie Stabenow. His departure opens a seat in a district that has been friendly to Rogers in recent years but that in his first election in 2000 he won by less than 200 votes.

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Todd Spangler writes for the Detroit Free Press.

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