Health wasn't the reason. Neither were politics and the tough votes he'd cast lately.
Instead, U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore said his unexpected decision not to seek re-election next year was all part of an earlier plan to serve for about 12 years.
"It feels like a tremendous burden is off of my shoulders," Moore told reporters Monday night at Kansas City International Airport after a flight from Washington.
Moore, 64, said he will discuss his decision more today at a 3:15 p.m. news conference.
In the meantime, the rush to be his replacement kicked into overdrive.
The Democrat issued a statement earlier Monday in which he called the job in Kansas' 3rd Congressional District "tiring" and added: "I have always sought to represent the moderate mainstream of the district, which I hope now will host a robust competition between the two parties to fill this congressional seat."
The statement did not address speculation that his health might be a factor, even though a leading Democrat said some of Moore's friends recently had approached the congressman to express concerns about him looking weary.
Moore acknowledged he saw a doctor Monday morning, but was only advised that he needed a hernia operation. "Beyond that, I'm fine," he said.
Moore plans to complete his term, which ends in January 2011.
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