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Barney Frank will not seek re-election

The Democratic representative from Massachusetts, Barney Frank, announced Monday he will retire from Congress.

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US Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) questions US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as he testifies at a hearing at the House Financial Services Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on March 2, 2011, in Washington, DC. (Jonathan Ernst/AFP/Getty Images)

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) announced Monday morning that he will not seek re-election in 2012, reported the Wall Street Journal.

The 16-term liberal Democrat from Massachusetts will announce his retirement from Congress in a press conference Monday afternoon in Newton, Mass., according to CNN. Frank announced back in February that he would run for re-election.

Frank, 71, is the combative former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, co-authoring a bill with Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut that tightened regulations on banks and the financial sector in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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According to the Boston Globe, Frank won his seat in 1980, and was one of the first lawmakers to announce he is gay.

The New York Times reported that while Frank's Fourth District is generally Democratic, Republican candidates have run close campaigns in recent years. Last election, Sean Bielat put him on the defensive, but Frank still won the seat by 10 percentage points. Still, in the 2010 special election for Edward Kennedy's longtime seat, Scott Brown carried the district by a small margin.

Frank represents the liberal Boston suburbs of Newton and Brookline, as well as much of southern Massachusetts.

The Times speculated that Newton Mayor Setti Warren and Alan Khazei, co-founder of a national service program who lives in Brookline, could be possible Democratic contenders for the now open seat.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/111128/barney-frank-will-not-seek-re-election