[Updated at 9:52 a.m.] Tea Party Express spokesman Levi Russell said the group has been the only one bringing "major national attention" to Congressman Bart Stupak and believes his apparent decision to retire reflects his movement's clout.
Russell said Stupak had been "well-aware" that the Express has been "barnstorming" the state's Upper Peninsula to raise "awareness" of what he called the congressman's "duplicitous conduct."
[Posted at 8:34 a.m.] Nine-term Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan will reveal Friday he is retiring from Congress, several Democratic sources close to Stupak tell CNN.
The anti-abortion Democrat has been facing opposition from both the right and the left for his 11th-hour deal with the White House to support the administration's health care legislation. He struck the deal because, he said, he was convinced that the measure bans federal funding for abortion.
Stupak first informed Democratic leaders last week that he was considering retiring, and he received calls from President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others urging him to run again.
Democratic sources in Washington and Michigan say they fear losing Stupak, a historically popular Democrat in a sprawling conservative district, will mean likely losing his seat to the Republicans.
According to one Democratic source familiar with his plans, Stupak is expected to make the case that he is leaving because he has accomplished what he went to Washington in 1992 to do - pass health care reform.
He will also say he considered retiring several times in the past.