Rep. Frank: Redistricting An Influence In Announcing 2012 Plans

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Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has ended months of speculation about his political future. The 16-term Democrat said he will seek re-election in 2012.

Frank's announcement comes as a surprise to many in the political world and in the media. Until his announcement Thursday, he'd bristled when the topic came up in interviews.

Here's what congressman Frank said to WBUR when we asked him about re-election back in mid-December, a few weeks after the midterms:

The election was just over and I must tell you, the number of people in Massachusetts who think we should be worrying about what's going to happen in the next election, 22 months from now, consists mostly of people in the media business. The average citizen — I think it's a great mistake for me to be talking about it, thinking about it, planning about it.

Well, now he's talking about it. Frank joined Morning Edition Friday from Washington to discuss his plan to run for Congress in 2012.

“Well mostly the persistence of people in the media business. I kept getting asked the question, I was hoping not to,” Frank said. “But there was another factor that I had not fully taken into account and that is the fact that we’re going to have to do congressional redistricting in [Mass.].”

Frank denied that the announcement was meant to send a message to those in charge of reassigning the state’s congressional seats. He also said he is unsure how his district will be affected and is doubtful the process has even begun.

Despite the uncertainty of his seat, Frank hopes the announcement will help secure support for the work he is already doing, including the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that he helped create.

“Well I am in the leadership position as the senior Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. If control of the House changes I will once again be chairman. People who, frankly, think they are dealing with the possible future chairman, may be more willing to take your views into account than if they think they are dealing with a very soon ex-member.”

Earlier Coverage:

This program aired on February 4, 2011.

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Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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