by Nathan Empsall, Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 01:21:50 PM EDT
It's just a day of retirements. In addition to Justice Stevens, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) has announced that he will not seek reelection. Though it will be very tough to hold onto his district (Obama won it 50-48, but only after two Bush victories), something tells me that many Democrats won't view his retirement the same way they viewed our first 17 open seats.
The nine-term congressman told The Associated Press he could have won re-election and insisted he wasn't being chased from the race by the Tea Party Express, which is holding rallies this week in his northern Michigan district calling for his ouster. Instead, Stupak said he was tired after 18 years in office and wanted to spend more time with his family.
"The tea party did not run me out," he said in a telephone interview. "If you know me and my personality, I would welcome the challenge."
Three little-known hopefuls are seeking the GOP nomination, and Stupak faced a primary challenge from a Democrat who supports abortion rights.
In related news, Sen. George LaMieux (R-FL) says that more Senate retirements are on the way, based on their votes for health care reform (video below). I think he's wrong; I can't find any likely retirements on the Class III list up for re-election this year (though to be fair I didn't see Dorgan's coming). The only Senator even remotely possible is Daniel Inouye, who will be 86 and isn't known for an abundance of "fire in the belly." I suppose you never hear a whole lot from Ron Wyden or Barba Mikulski, but their seats are relatively safe. Patty Murray's running a little scared, but she loves her job and her position in the leadership so I'd be shocked if she pulled a Dorgan. So unless it's Inouye, I think LeMieux is wrong about Senate Democrats. If you forget his throw-away line about health care and think maybe another Repub will retire, it'd have to be either the 65yo Johnny Isakson, who is a safe bet for re-election but will have to fight to get it, or Richard Shelby, based purely on the fact that he's 75. But here's the thing - every single one of these Senators has an active re-election website. Inouye's holding campaign events and Mikulski's website even features a video that says "I'm not shy and I'm not retiring." And of course, filing deadlines for successors are passing left and right. LaMieux is probably just trying to make a little noise and scare some Democrats. Don't fall for it.