By Susan Guyett
INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) - Longtime Indiana Republican Congressman Dan Burton, chair of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe, announced on Tuesday he will not seek a 16th term in office.
Burton, accompanied by his brother, State Representative Woody Burton, made the announcement at the state legislature where his political career began.
First elected to Congress in 1982, Burton cut his political teeth serving in the Indiana legislature from 1967 to 1982.
The colorful and controversial lawmaker gave no reason for the decision although he mentioned family health problems.
"It has been an incredible honor to serve Hoosiers, first as a State Representative and State Senator at the Indiana State House and then to serve my constituents as a Member of Congress," he said in a statement.
Burton, who represents a district of central Indiana stretching from the suburbs of Indianapolis north, has faced lively primary challenges in recent years. Possible primary opponents former U. S. Attorney Susan Brooks and former Republican congressman David McIntosh have been campaigning for months. Other candidates may enter the race now that Burton has bowed out.
He served as chairman of the U.S. House Oversight Government Reform committee from 1997 to 2002, often clashing with the administration of President Bill Clinton. He once famously re-enacted the death of Clinton aide Vince foster in his backyard with a gun and a pumpkin.
(Editing by Greg McCune)