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Rep. Barney Frank, the veteran Democrat from the liberal Boston suburbs and chief architect in the House of the Wall Street and financial regulation overhaul (“Dodd-Frank”) passed last year,
announced today that he will not run for re-election next fall:

Mr. Frank faced his most competitive re-election contest in decades last year, when Sean Bielat, a Republican and former Marine, put him on the defensive. But Mr. Frank still won a 16th term by about 10 percentage points.

His Fourth District falls mostly in southern Massachusetts but also includes the famously liberal Boston suburbs of Newton and Brookline. Under a new redistricting plan that Gov. Deval Patrick, a fellow Democrat, signed into law last week, Mr. Frank’s district would have lost the heavily Democratic city of New Bedford and gained some more conservative towns.

Frank thinks his financial reform law will make a real difference, so he and supporters look at this as a triumphant exit. Rep. Steve Israel, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, saluted him in a statement released Monday afternoon.

“An extraordinary leader in the fight to end our financial crisis, Barney Frank authored the most sweeping reforms of Wall Street since the Great Depression, reforms that House Republicans are desperately trying to dismantle. House Democrats are committed to electing people who will protect main street – its small businesses and middle class taxpayers.”

But with Occupy Wall Street still raging — and many on the left angry at coddling of the big banks by the Obama administration — this lawmaker is unlikely to be revered as a progressive hero, at least in the near future.

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