Republicans Fleeing the House
by Jonathan Singer, Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 04:11:16 PM EST
When a party is actually bullish about its chances of returning to power -- not just as a PR stance but in actuality -- it's members don't usually flee from office.
It's been a year of notable Democratic retirements, but Rep. Vernon Ehlers, the nine-term Republican from Grand Rapids, Michigan, will call it quits at the end of 2010, Hotline OnCall's Tim Sahd and Reid Wilson report.
It's the 17th open seat Republicans will have to defend in 2010 (vs. 11 open seats for Democrats), and Sahd and Wilson note that it could be an opportunity for Democrats under the right circumstances, though the race was not generally seen among the nation's more competitive before news of Ehlers's retirement. John McCain defeated President Obama in Michigan's third district by a slim 49% to 49% in 2008, but the McCain camp pulled out of Michigan early. Ehlers won reelection with 61% of the vote in 2008.
Doing the math, that's close to 10 percent of House Republicans who have decided not to run for reelection rather than stick around awaiting the possibility that their party will regain control of the chamber. Think about that for a moment. The GOP spinmeisters want us to believe that they have a legitimate shot at winning back control of the House of Representatives, and they have been successful in convincing a great number of folks inside the Beltway. Yet nearly one-in-ten House Republicans don't have enough faith in their party's chances to hold out for another term. At least from this vantage, actions speak more loudly than words -- and especially spin.