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UPDATE: Frank Wolf retiring from Congress

U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, a Republican, spoke to members of the Leesburg Daybreak Rotary Club in Loudoun in August. Wolf, first elected in 1980, announced Dec. 17 he won’t seek reelection in 2014. Times-Mirror File Photo/Trevor Baratko
U.S. Rep Frank Wolf (R-VA.-10th), elected the same year Ronald Reagan won the presidency, sent shock waves through the ranks of Virginia and congressional politicos today by announcing he won't seek reelection in 2014.

Wolf's decision opens up the floodgates to a pack of potential candidates -- both Republican and Democrat -- looking to win a seat that's been comfortably in GOP clutches for more than three decades.

Wolf hasn't had a single digit-margin contest in the general election since 1982.

In a prepared statement, Wolf said: “As a follower of Jesus, I am called to work for justice and reconciliation, and to be an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves. I plan to focus my future work on human rights and religious freedom – both domestic and international – as well as matters of the culture and the American family."

"My passion for these issues," Wolf continued, "has been influenced by the examples of President Ronald Reagan, former Congressmen Jack Kemp and Tony Hall, Chuck Colson, and the life of Member of Parliament William Wilberforce.”

Elected in 1980, the Northern Virginia Republican is often viewed as less of a partisan firebrand than some new Republicans in Congress, especially those affiliated with the tea party. Unlike many in the GOP, Wolf has refused to sign Grover Norquist's Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

In addition to regional transportation and infrastructure improvements, Wolf has consistently made human rights issues across the globe one of his key issues. In 2012, he published a memoir, “Prisoner of Conscience: One Man’s Crusade for Global Human and Religious Rights,” that featured his first-hand accounts of some of world's darkest scenes.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) quickly praised Wolf's service to his constituents.

“Frank Wolf has been a true friend, and a great partner, both when I served as Virginia governor and since I’ve joined Congress," Warner said in a prepared statement this afternoon. "He is a tireless and leading advocate for religious freedom around the world.

"We have worked closely together on Northern Virginia transportation issues, and partnered in consecutive sessions of Congress on bipartisan legislation that would encourage the on-shoring of jobs back to Virginia which have moved overseas in recent years," Warner added. "Frank has also been a passionate advocate and reliable ally in my ongoing efforts to find common ground on issues surrounding our nation’s deficits and debt."

“Breaking" and "VA10" hashtags lit up Twitter within minutes of Wolf's announcement. Reporters and pundits quickly speculated that Virginia Del. Barbara Comstock, state Sen. Jill Vogel or outgoing attorney general and former gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli will seek the GOP nomination to replace Wolf.

Three Democrats have already announced campaigns for the 2014 race -- Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust, Fairfax attorney Richard Bolger and Leesburg architect Sam Kubba.

This story has been updated from an earlier version.

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Yeah Loudoun and Fairfax, which went for Obama and Kaine, then McAuliffe/Northam/Herring are “dominated by Republicans”.  It is only Republican when voters don’t bother to show up. 

Keep those blinders on tight though.  Ken Cuccinelli was a great middle of the road candidate right?  EW Jackson a pragmatic statesman looking out for all Virginians?  Health insurance rate increases are a brand new phenomenon, only spurred by Obama.  Before this year health insurance was cheap and available to everyone.  Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli’s dealings with Star Scientific were completely innocent and not worth of any investigation.  Never mind the $1M Star just saved on taxes thanks to the “deal” they got.

Randy Minchew would be an EXCELLENT choice for our next congressman!! Click this link to support Randy! https://www.facebook.com/DraftMinchew

Thank God the 10th is dominated by Republicans. The winner of the Republican Primary (or Convention) will be the next Congressman for the 10th. The Democrat in the race will just be noise.

He saw that he was probably going to be primaried out by someone who’s a real conservative.

Yeah, how is Frank any different then the guy from the EPA that didn’t show up to work for 10 years????

As predicted, it didn’t take long for the Wolf-bashers to show up.  While he wasn’t a lightning rod for controversy or scandal,  he was one of the few Republicans that I felt could cross the aisle when needed and give a handshake, for the betterment of our country.  Unlike the majority of them today, who are entrenched in their parties’ selfish ideologies, or caring more about special interests.  As a Fed, Frank was good for my career, something most R’s couldn’t fathom acknowledging.  A happy worker, be it private or government, is going to do a better job, than one who is despised, ridiculed or made to be a pawn.  For that, I am appreciative of his service.

Who in the Tenth District has not expected Frank Wolf to retire long ago? He is a fine fellow, but an almost invisible as a Representative. He is the archetypical backbencher, offending no one and not doing much either, other than fretting about local and state issues. He is long overdue for his retirement with its generous federal pension. The Tenth District needs someone with energy, wisdom, and eagerness to put right our ailing national government.

Well a useless Congressman rides off into the sunset.  Unfortunately he’ll continue that “check casher” job for life.  Along with excellent health benefits, all on our dime.

Feels a little like the queen retiring or something.  I mean Frank Wolf has been nothing more than a ceremonial federal paycheck casher for years.  The idea that we get someone with both energy and ideas to replace him is a really exciting possibility.

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