Weldon, a physician, was elected in the Republican wave of 1994 and has maintained a solidly conservative voting record throughout his seven terms in Congress. Holding a seat on the House Appropriations Committee, he played a key role in securing funds for NASA’s budget – a major issue in a district that's home to the Kennedy Space Center.
His retirement is the second in as many days; Rep. James Walsh (R-N.Y.) announced his retirement yesterday, opening up a seat that Democrats are aggressively contesting.
Weldon’s office could not be immediately reached for comment.
Democrats view Weldon’s Republican-leaning seat, based on Florida’s Space Coast, as winnable and already have a candidate ready to run. A Democratic operative said that former Brevard County Commissioner Nancy Higgs (D) will be entering the race soon after Weldon makes a formal announcement, and is viewed by the party as a strong challenger.
The seat gave President Bush 57 percent of the vote in 2004, but Weldon only won 56 percent against an underfunded opponent in 2006.