Ohio congressman leaving office

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Ohio congressman leaving office

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Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, attends a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican Caucus in the Capitol, June 10, 2014. Getty Images

Congressman Rep. Pat Tiberi announced Thursday that he will be leaving Congress by the end of next January, capping 16 years representing his central Ohio congressional district.

In a statement released at 10 a.m., Tiberi said he would not be seeking re-election. Instead, he’ll serve as president of the Ohio Business Roundtable.

“It has been the most remarkable honor of my life to serve the people of the 12th District,” he said. “As the son of Italian immigrants, I am forever grateful for the opportunity my parents gave me by coming to America and raising our family in Ohio. It was because of their pursuit of the American Dream that made it possible for me to serve 17 years in the halls of Congress representing my home. This truly is the greatest country in the world.”

He said his new job would allow him “to continue to work on public policy issues impacting Ohioans while also spending more time with my family.” Tiberi and his wife Denice have four daughters.

While the timing of his announcement is unclear, Tiberi, a Genoa Township Republican, plans to leave by the end of next January.

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Tiberi will replace Richard Stoff, the founder and current president of the Ohio Business Roundtable, who announced in July that he was retiring at the end of this year. Stoff’s compensation totaled $692,038 in 2015, according to the group’s IRS filings.

Sources close to Tiberi said a variety of factors played into his exit. His mother died earlier this year and his father is in ill health. House Speaker Paul Ryan last year bypassed Tiberi to select Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, as the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, despite the fact that Tiberi had support from the majority of his colleagues on the Republican Steering Committee.

Another loss: the retirement of House Speaker John Boehner in 2015. The two were close political allies, with Tiberi benefiting politically from his close friendship with the West Chester Republican.

And a dysfunctional political environment in Washington made him “miserable” said a source close to Tiberi.

The veteran congressman, who represents Ohio’s 12th congressional district, had considered running for the U.S. Senate in 2018. He ended that speculation in May, announcing that he didn’t want a Senate campaign to take time away from working on tax reform from his position as a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Tiberi had more than $6.6 million in campaign funds at the beginning of the month.

Tiberi, 54, was elected to the House in 2000, replacing John Kasich, who had once hired him as an aide in Kasich’s congressional office in Columbus. Tiberi, who grew up in Columbus, also served four terms in the Ohio House in the 1990s.

He is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s subcommittee on health and is currently chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, a House-Senate committee that examines economic issues. And earlier this year, he became the chairman of the House “Main Street Caucus,” a group of moderate Republicans who billed themselves as the “governing” wing of the Republican Party.

Only two other members of the 16-member Ohio delegation have served longer: Rep. Marcy Kaptur was elected in 1983 and Rep. Steve Chabot in 1995, save for a two-year period when Chabot’s seat was held by a Democrat.

While it’s unclear when Tiberi would vacate his House seat, sources told the Dispatch that it might not be until the end of this year.

Gov. John Kasich, whose term expires in January 2019, is not interested in running for his old House seat, said Chris Schrimpf, his political spokesman.

Tiberi, who won his seat in 2016 with nearly 67 percent of the vote, faces Democrat Ed Albertson and Republican Brandon Grisez if he runs next year.

Tiberi’s decision to leave puts him in a growing club of Republicans who are opting to leave Congress: Reps. Dave Reichert of Washington, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Dave Trott of Michigan and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania have announced their plans to leave in recent days, as has Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.

If Tiberi resigns before the end of his term, special elections, including a primary, would be staged to fill his seat. When Speaker John Boehner of Ohio resigned from his seat in late 2015, it took four and one-half months to stage the March 15, 2016 primary and nearly another three months for the June 7, 2016 election won by Republican Warren Davidson.

The reliably Republican 12th District takes in northern Franklin County suburbs and all of Delaware, Morrow and Licking counties. It includes parts of Marion, Muskingum and Richland counties.

Dispatch reporter Randy Ludlow contributed to this story.

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