House Intel Chair Rogers to retire
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers announced that he was retiring from Congress to pursue a career in broadcasting.
The 50 year old Rogers spent 14 years in Congress and as late as last summer, was being urged to run for the Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Democrat Carl Levin. He was also mentioned as a potential CIA chief.
“As I close this chapter please know that I am not finished with the effort to bring back American ‘exceptionalism,’” Rogers said in a note to supporters. “Not in the sense of a great notion, but in the sense of impacting the hopes and dreams of a great nation and her people. You may have lost my vote in Congress but not my voice. I look forward to building on our successes and confronting America’s challenges together.”
Rogers is a very close ally of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
The youngest of five sons, Rogers graduated from Adrian College in 1985. He then became a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army via the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at the University of Michigan.
Rogers joined the FBI in 1989 as a special agent in the Chicago office, focusing on public corruption and organized crime, among other issues. In 1995, he was elected to the Michigan Senate, rising to majority floor leader in 1999.
In 2000, Rogers won election to Congress. His southeastern Michigan district voted for Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race following redistricting, but Barack Obama carried it in 2008.
Rogers has been a frequent Obama critic during many appearances on Sunday morning talk shows, although he was briefly floated as a potential CIA director nominee following President Obama’s 2012 reelection victory.
He has been a harsh critic of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, suggesting - without offering additional proof - that Snowden was working with foreign intelligence agencies.
Rogers formed a good relationship with Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.), the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, who has been a staunch defender of the controversial NSA surveillance programs disclosed by Snowden.
But Rogers and Ruppersberger have also offered legislation ending NSA bulk collection program for phone calls and other agency reforms.
Rogers’s 8th District seat had been considered a lock to remain in the Republican column in 2014. But with his retirement it will become more competitive. Mitt Romney carried the district by 3 percentage points in 2012.
The 8th district is largely rural but includes the college town of East Lansing (Michigan State) and part of the state capitol of Lansing. Rogers won the seat in 2000 by a narrow margin, but has had little trouble getting re-elected. In an off year election, the Republican candidate will probably win, but in 2016, it should be an even more competitive race.