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John Shadegg Retiring to Find Better Coffee

As the Sleuth and her colleague Paul Kane reported in today's Washington Post, Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) gave us the inside skinny on why he announced his retirement this week: it's the coffee.

Shadegg is bummed out that the House-side cafeteria where he has routinely gotten his afternoon coffee for 14 years no longer sells Starbucks. "I can take a lot in the minority: losing votes, not being a subcommittee chairman, but not being able to get Starbucks is unacceptable."

The congressman says the coffee was replaced about two or three weeks ago by something called Pura Vida Fair Trade coffee. "Spare me! There's got to be a kickback somewhere," he groaned.

Actually, word is that Shadegg, who is the 22nd House Republican to announce his retirement this cycle, is leaving the House to train his sights on the Senate, banking on Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) winning the White House and his Senate seat opening up in 2010.

Some of Shadegg's colleagues have joked quietly that Shadegg, who's known as one of those members who sleeps on a sofa in his congressional office and showers in the House gym to avoid paying rent on an apartment, is just looking for better living (and showering) quarters in the Senate. (For the record, members of Congress recently got a pay raise of $4,100, bringing their annual salaries to $169,300.)

Shadegg shies away from talk of sleeping in his office. All he would tell us is -- "I continue to believe that the House gym is much nicer" than the Senate gym.

As for whether he's plotting a Senate run, he said, "I'm absolutely not leaving to run for that, but I'm also not ruling out the possibility that I will."

By Mary Ann Akers  |  February 14, 2008; 3:52 PM ET
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