Blue Dog Tanner Retiring NRCC gleeful at Tennessee Democrat's retirement By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Dec 2, 2009 6:10 AM CST 4 comments Comments Rep. John Tanner, D-Tenn., participates in a discussion at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Nashville, Tenn., in 2006. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) (Newser) – Blue Dog Coalition co-founder John Tanner will be calling it a day next year after 11 terms in Congress. The Tennessee Democrat hasn't faced serious opposition since first being elected to Congress, but was likely to meet a strong Republican challenger in 2010, Hotline notes. "Rep. Tanner wisely threw in the towel," crowed a National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman. Tanner fought hard for fiscal restraint after co-founding the conservative coalition in 1994, although he voted for the economic stimulus package this year. "Our nation faces many severe and unrelenting problems," Tanner said in his resignation statement. "I will stay active on these matters and continue my efforts with the Blue Dogs and others of good will."