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Retirement decision based on people in district

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The Ellis County Press

MIDLOTHIAN – Congressman Joe Barton, R-Ennis, said the voters of his Arlington-to-east-Texas district will decide whether he retires or not, the congressman said after a town-hall meeting Monday.

The Congressman’s statements were the first public response he’s made since The Ellis County Press reported online that multiple sources in both Ellis County and in Arlington were "grooming" Barton’s successor in 2010.

Several Ellis County Republicans have openly and privately discussed waging a primary campaign against Barton, who was first elected in 1984.

The Congressman, who is originally from Ennis, said he’s in good health and in the prime of his legislative career.

Barton said he wants to see another GOP majority to take advantage of his seniority; currently, the Republicans in both houses of Congress are the minority party.

Aside from his retirement, Barton was confronted by almost 30 constituents peppering him with questions ranging from energy policy to the Iraq war.

Barton faces Democrat Ludwig Otto and Libertarian Max Koch in the November general election.

The Sixth District is considered solidly Republican; according to the Web site maplight.org, which tracks congressional campaign contributions, Barton sits on a war chest of over $4 million.

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