Another one bites the dust: Modesto Congressman Dennis Cardoza steps down

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Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) speaks with an aide during a House Rules Committee meeting on Capitol Hill November 6, 2009 in Washington, DC.

Congress is losing a moderate Democrat and constituents in Modesto are losing their representative.

Congressman Dennis Cardoza announced he is stepping down, effective Wednesday at midnight.

Cardoza already said he wasn’t running for re-election, but he told the Fresno Bee he’s stepping down now “in light of the fact that nothing is going to happen for the rest of the year” in Congress and because of “increasing parenting challenges” with their three children.

Cardoza is one of an increasingly shrinking number of Democratic moderates, known as the “Blue Dogs.”

He’s loudly criticized the way Barack Obama's administration has handled the foreclosure crisis, which has hit the California Central Valley particularly hard. His district will be without a representative until January when the winner of the regularly scheduled November election is sworn in.

Minority leader Nancy Pelosi called Cardoza a consensus builder who worked “tirelessly on behalf of fiscal responsibility.”

In a statement, Cardoza said he never forgot where he came from. He thanked staff, colleagues and his wife who he said still writes notes of inspiration and tapes them to the bathroom mirror when times are tough.

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