Another House GOPer Retiring
by Jonathan Singer, Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 02:53:31 PM EST
For all the talk of Democrats defending open seats this fall, it turns out that it's the Republicans who keep announcing that they're retiring.
Republican Congressman Henry Brown, who has served South Carolina in the U.S. House since 2001, will retire at the end of his term, sources tell The Palmetto Scoop.
While Republicans will point to the fact that the district represented by Henry Brown for the last decade tends to lean about 10 percentage points more Republican than the nation as a whole, the most salient statistic related to this news is the sub-52 percent showing Brown made in barely eking out a reelection win in 2008. Had Brown managed to win the 60-90 percent of the vote he has traditionally pulled in, it's hard to imagine that he wouldn't be running.
Indeed, Brown isn't the only Republican to recently announce that he would be retiring rather thn sticking around for the possibility that the GOP would retake the House in November. Just before the new year, California Republican George Radanovich also announced that he would step down instead of stick around in hopes of being part of a majority in the next Congress.
These retirement announcements -- and there are now 14 House Republicans not running for reelection in 2010, or nearly 8 percent of the party's caucus -- don't represent the type of confidence the GOP is trying to convey to the politics watchers (a confidence too many in the Beltway seem inclined to buy). If Republicans really were on the verge of retaking the House, would so many of them be leaving the chamber just when they were about to become relevant and powerful again?