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Cardoza won't run for Congress again
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U.S. Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Merced) will not seek reelection in 2012, he announced Thursday.

"I love the people of the Central Valley, and thank them for the confidence they have placed in me for over 20 years of elective office," Cardoza said.

Cardoza, a conservative Democrat who served as a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition, has represented the 18th District in Congress since 2003. Prior to his tenure as a Congressman, Cardoza sat as a member of the State Assembly for six years.

In his years of office, Cardoza fought to secure funding for the University of California, Merced, wrote the 2008 Farm Bill and eliminated the "tractor tax" in California. He sat on the Committee on Agriculture and the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

In the 2012 election, following redistricting, Cardoza would have contested the new 16th District, which stretches from Merced to Fresno. That redistricting would have seen Cardoza facing off against Jim Costa (D-Fresno), a close political ally and friend of Cardoza's.

Cardoza did not reference redistricting in his announcing his retirement, but instead turned his ire toward the Obama Administration's "failure to understand and effectively address" the foreclosure crisis. He also took issue with the emphasis on extremists in broadcast media, which he said tends to ignore moderate members of Congress and those who work to build consensus.

"The constant focus on 'screamers' and the 'horse race' of elections is smothering useful discourse and meaningful debate of public policy," Cardoza said. "This, in turn, is fueling the increasingly harsh tone in American politics. My experience tells me that those who shout the loudest, and give the most speeches, have the fewest good solutions for America's challenges."

Cardoza went on to advocate that voters "punish extreme partisanship and rhetoric when they cast their ballots."

Cardoza did not elaborate on his plans following his retirement from public office, but again thanked voters for their support throughout the years.

"I again want to thank the citizens of the Valley for allowing me the privilege of serving our community for all these years," Cardoza said. "We have overcome many challenges together, but I have no doubt that our best days are yet to come."