Once a fast-rising GOP star, New York Rep. Bill Paxon announced plans Wednesday to retire from Congress, deciding against a leadership challenge to Majority Leader Dick Armey that threatened to expose deep divisions in the Republican ranks.
“I will never run for office again. Never. Not even for dog warden,” said Paxon, abandoning his career seven tumultuous months after he was ousted from his leadership post for involvement in an abortive coup against Speaker Newt Gingrich.
“The priority of family must now take precedence over politics,” Paxon, 43, added in a letter to his GOP colleagues. He said he and his wife, former Rep. Susan Molinari, parents of a daughter whose second birthday is this spring, hope to have additional children. She resigned her seat last year to begin a new career at CBS-TV.
In the months since Gingrich snapped up his offer to resign his leadership post, Paxon flirted openly with a challenge to Armey in hopes of positioning himself to become the next GOP speaker. He told reporters he had decided last week to make the race, then changed his mind for family reasons.