Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, announced Thursday that he is leaving politics—for the second time.
Salmon, who left Congress in 2001 after six years of service and then ran again in 2012, is retiring to spend more time with his family, according to a column published on azcentral.com.
“I strongly believe in the simple truth that in any man’s life, his top priority should be his family,” Salmon wrote.
When he was first elected to the lower chamber, Salmon had four children. He wrote that he “missed so many important events like birthdays, school dances, senior proms, soccer games and cross-country meets.”
Now, his four grown children and seven grandchildren live in Arizona.
“And more than ever, it seems the biggest hypocrisy to abandon my family in a quest to protect them,” he wrote. “After much soul-searching, that’s just not a trade I can justify making any longer.”
Last year, Salmon was courted by tea party groups as a potential primary challenger to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who’s held his U.S. Senate seat for nearly 30 years.
Salmon has nine more months in office. He endorsed state Sen. Andy Biggs, a fellow Republican, to replace him.