Rep. David Hobson, a nine-term Republican from Ohio, announced plans to retire Sunday, the 12th member of his party to do so since the beginning of the year.
"I wanted to go out on top," said Hobson, who said his health is good. He would have faced token opposition at best had he sought a new term.
The 71-year-old Hobson became the second member of the Ohio delegation to announce retirement plans in less than a week. Rep. Ralph Regula, who has been in Congress since 1973, announced recently he will not run again.
Hobson served two terms from his west-central Ohio district before Republicans gained control of the House in 1994. His seniority soon enabled him to become one of the so-called cardinals, chairmen of Appropriations subcommittee with great authority over selected programs. He served as chairman of the panel with jurisdiction over military housing, then over energy and water programs until Democrats gained their majority last year.
Hobson has a moderate to conservative, pro-business voting record. Most recently, he supported an expansion of children's health care that most Republicans opposed and that President Bush subsequently vetoed.
Hobson announced his retirement plans in a speech in his home district. In a telephone interview, he said he had been thinking about retiring for quite a while, and "almost did not run last year."
Republicans have been working to hold down the number of retirements in advance of the 2008 elections, when they will be attempting to regain the majority they lost in 2006. Hobson has had no difficulty prevailing in his district, and it was not immediately clear how strong an effort Democrats might mount for the seat.