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Marion Berry To Retire: Democrat Rep. From Arkansas To Step Down

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas Democratic Rep. Marion Berry plans to announce Monday that he won't seek re-election this fall, two people have told The Associated Press.

Two people who had spoken with Berry on Sunday said the congressman planned to announce his decision Monday. The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on Berry's behalf.

Berry has represented the 1st District in eastern Arkansas since 1997.

A spokeswoman for Berry did not immediately return a call Sunday night.

Berry, 67, was first elected to his congressional seat after serving in the Clinton administration as a special assistant to the president for agricultural trade and food assistance.

In 2008, he was re-elected without opposition. This year, he faced opposition from Republican Rick Crawford, who owns a regional agricultural radio network.

Berry had repeatedly said he had no plans to retire, but he fueled speculation last week when he told a radio interviewer asking about his re-election plans that "nothing is certain in this world but death."

"There has not been this much turmoil in Arkansas politics in a long time," Berry told Little Rock radio station KUAR. "I would be afraid to predict anything. I think in the next couple months you could see all kinds of stuff coming down the pike."

Berry is the second Arkansas congressman to announce he was retiring. Earlier this month, Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder announced he would not seek an eighth term representing the 2nd District in central Arkansas.

Rep. John Boozman, a Republican representing northwest Arkansas, has said he's thinking about running for the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

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