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Tenn. Rep. Gordon Won't Seek Re-Election

Rep. Bart Gordon, a 13-term congressman from Tennessee, announced Monday he will not seek re-election next year, the latest Democrat in a string of retirements.

Gordon, 60, won re-election easily last year, garnering 74 percent of the vote.

"Turning 60 has led me to do some thinking about what's next," he said in a statement. "I have an 8-year-old daughter and a wonderful wife who has a very demanding job, and I am the only child of my 83-year-old mother Margaret. They have made sacrifices to allow me to do what I love by serving Congress, and now it's my turn."

Gordon is the chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology. He was first elected in 1984, after Al Gore gave up his seat to run for the Senate.

Gordon cited among his accomplishments passage of the "America Competes Act," which called for increased spending on math and science programs.

"With the challenges our country faces, we have laid the foundation to rebuild our economy based on innovation, investments in research, and a sustained commitment to math and science education," Gordon said. "For these reasons, I am committed to reauthorizing both the America Competes Act and NASA in the coming year."

Last week, Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash., announced he would not seek re-election next year so he can spend more time with his family and pursue other ways to serve.

Gordon handily won his 2008 re-election, but Republican presidential candidate John McCain won the district by more than 20 points, CBS News' Chief Political Consultant, the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder, points out. Republicans are already targeting the seat, according to Ambinder, and Democrats will have to scramble to retain it.

While Republicans are expected to make some gains in the 2010 elections, they still have an uphill battle, according to CBS News Political Director Steve Chaggaris.

Currently, 11 House Democrats have announced they are either retiring or seeking another office; 12 Republicans have announced the same.

Of the 11 Democrats, seven are serious GOP targets, according to Chaggaris. Of the 12 GOP congressmen, three are serious targets for Democrats to pursue. Overall, the independent, nonpartisan Cook Political Report lists 40 currently-Democratic seats as "competitive" -- including Gordon's seat -- and 11 GOP seats as "competitive."

With 258 Democrats currently in the House and 177 Repubicans, the GOP would have to win 41 seats to win back the majority. In the 1994 GOP takeover of Congress, Chaggaris points out, Republican incumbents won every one of their re-elections, while 34 Democratic incumbents lost. In addition, the GOP picked up 22 open Democratic seats and lost only 4 open GOP seats.

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