Twelve term congressman Rob Andrews from South Jersey announced Tuesday morning that he would be resigning from Congress effective February 18, to take a job at a Philadelphia law firm in a "public affairs" role.
The New Jersey congressman had been under investigation for ethics issues around personal trips to Scotland and Los Angeles as well as a high school graduation party for his daughter that may have been used as a fundraiser that but his resignation will short-circuit any further inquiries by the Office of Congressional Ethics and the House Ethics Committee.
Andrews was first elected to Congress in a 1990 special election after incumbent Jim Florio resigned after being elected governor of the Garden State. He tried to follow in Florio's footsteps by running statewide twice, losing in Democratic primaries for governor in 1997 and for Senate in 2008.
His 2008 Senate bid, which was a failed attempt to unseat incumbent Frank Lautenburg, drew attention because he had to give up his House seat to run. Instead, his wife ran in the Democratic primary for his seat and promptly withdrew, allowing party bosses to replace her on the ballot with her husband. It was New Jersey politics at its finest.
If he had stayed in office, Andrews had been next in line to succeed retiring 40-year-incumbent George Miller as the ranking Democrat on the Education and Workforce Committee. Instead, Andrews joins Miller, Henry Waxman and Jim Moran on the long list of veteran Democrats who won't be returning in the next Congress. Many observers have pointed to this growing list of retirements as a strong indicator that Democrats are not confident of their prospects to regain the majority in the House in the 2014 elections.
Andrews' congressional seat will stay vacant until November but it's expected that Democratic state senator Donald Norcross, the brother of South Jersey political boss George Norcross, will replace Andrews in Washington.