Wexler leaving Congress? He’ll address rumors Wednesdayby George Bennett | October 13th, 2009
Amid rumors he might step down from the congressional seat he’s held since 1997, U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, plans to talk to reporters about his future plans Wednesday.
One source says Wexler may be considering a “public policy position.”
Wexler was a key early supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential bid when most of the Florida Democratic establishment backed Hillary Clinton. Since Obama’s election, there’s been speculation Wexler might be in line for a plum appointment in the Obama administration.
Wexler downplayed such talk immediately after Obama’s win. In November, Wexler said he wasn’t seeking an administration job and said: “I have a dream job. A job I love. I could not be happier. And I am not looking for any change in that regard.”
WIth the latest rumors, it wasn’t clear if Wexler was contemplating leaving office soon or serving out his term and not seeking reelection in 2010. If he left office early, Gov. Charlie Crist would call a special election to select a representative for Wexler’s overwhelmingly Democratic Palm Beach-Broward district.
Self-described “fire-breathing liberal” Wexler was elected in 1996 and has not faced a serious reelection challenge since. Even last year, after his residency became an issue — Wexler lives with his family in Maryland and was using his in-laws’ address to establish Florida residency — Wexler won a seventh term with 66.2 percent.
If Wexler leaves, several Democrats would likely be interested in running for his seat. Among them: state Sens. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton and Jeremy Ring of Coral Springs, West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel and former Broward County Commissioner Ben Graber, who got 6.6 percent last year as a no-party challenger to Wexler.