Twenty-Third Republican Bows Out of House

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

( - Citing health concerns and a need to return to his Indiana roots, Representative Ed Pease (R-IN) has announced he will not seek a third term in the House of Representatives, making him the 23rd Republican to decide against running for re-election this cycle.

Pease told a Terre Haute, Ind., news conference, "It is not that I am concerned about my health preventing my full service. Many people have faced medical situations more serious than mine and lived full and satisfying lives. It is simply that the focus provided by reflection on mortality provides a perspective that one who cherishes the opportunities of life should not ignore."

Pease's health problems stem from a partial blockage found in one of his heart arteries in 1998, in the midst of the investigation into Monica Lewinsky's sexual relationship with President Clinton. That illness kept Pease, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, from participating in the committee vote to release the president's videotaped grand jury testimony and evidence compiled by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.

Pease also had the misfortune of being accosted in the Washington suburb of Crystal City in 1998 and robbed of $133. A policemen apprehended the robber a few blocks from the scene. After the robbery, Pease said, "I wish I were back in Indiana."

Pease also told reporters he desires to return to community volunteering in Indiana after he leaves Congress.

"I know myself well enough to understand that I find joy in the direct service of volunteering and that the best way for me to serve others is to find a position that is either directly involved in such work or allows me the time to do so. I can't do that and simultaneously do the job, I have been elected to do, the way I believe it should be done," Pease said.

Pease also announced he has not made any employment plans for after he leaves Congress. Reports in Indiana say he is being considered for president of Indiana State University (ISU). Pease denied he is seeking the college presidency.

Pease's retirement makes 23 House Republicans and 6 Democrats who are either not seeking re-election or seeking another office.