Politics & Government

Spratt says he will seek re-election

ROCK HILL - Responding to weeks of speculation that has surfaced everywhere from The Washington Post to Republican political circles, U.S. Rep. John Spratt said Monday he plans to run for another term in 2010.

The York Democrat said he looks forward to a tough campaign against what he called a formidable opponent in Republican state Sen. Mick Mulvaney, ofIndian Land. Spratt said he plans to launch a formal campaign in late February or early March, slightly earlier than he has kicked off past election campaigns.

Spratt's affirmation should come as welcome news to House Democrats worried about a wave of 2010 retirements, particularly in swing districts vulnerable to GOP challenges.

Spratt had been listed near the top of retirement watch lists by various media outlets, including The Washington Post and the online site Politico, which cited Democratic sources as saying Spratt had not committed to running again.

"Washington is sort of like an echo chamber," Spratt said Monday. "Somebody says something, and somebody else picks up on it. The next thing you know, a half-dozen people are picking up on something they heard."

Thoughts of retirement have crossed his mind, Spratt said, but not as much lately, given that Democrats control Congress. Spratt chairs the Budget Committee and could become chairman of the Armed Services Committee if current chairman Ike Skelton of Missouri retires.

The York County native was first elected to the 5th District seat in 1982. This would be his 15th term.