A Day Of Retirements

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.

A Day Of Retirements

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.

Yet Another House Republican to Retire

Charlie Cook says that it's "very hard to come up with a scenario where Democrats don't lose the House." The Republicans in the House apparently don't agree with him, though, as evidenced by the continuing trend of party incumbents opting to leave the House instead of waiting around for the GOP's supposedly imminent return to power in the chamber. Here's the latest.

Veteran Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.), an early ally of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and an outspoken fiscal conservative, announced Saturday he was retiring.

Linder disclosed his decision at a Republican breakfast in his district and party officials in Washington confirmed the news.

The 18-year congressman represents a heavily Republican seat in the sprawling suburbs east of Atlanta that is likely to stay in GOP hands.

This district isn't competitive, you say, so why does it matter whether one Republican is going to be swapped out for another? It matters a great deal, in fact.

To flesh out what I stated above, and what I've said before, if House Republicans really believed that they were on the verge of retaking the chamber, they wouldn't be retiring. Take the retiring John Linder, for example. Linder is a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, and as a ranking member of one of its subcommittees would stand to earn a coveted chairmanship if the Republicans were to retake the House. Yet he's leaving rather than wait less than a year for something that's supposedly a sure thing -- the GOP winning control of the House?

Actions speak louder than words. When Republicans like Congressman Linder -- and a dozen and a half of his compatriots -- decide to leave the House, it says loud and clear that they don't think their party is going to win back the House in November, no matter what Charlie Cook or anyone else has to say.

Yet Another Swing District GOPer Retiring

The Miami Herald has the story:

U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a passionate defender and architect of legislation to strengthen the U.S. embargo against Cuba, is expected to announce Thursday he won't seek reelection to Congress.

With this retirement, more than 1-in-10 Republicans in the House of Representatives will not run for reelection this year -- 10.1 percent, to be precise. This kind of exodus does not occur when a party genuinely believes that it has the shot of retaking the House.

Some might try to play off this news by trying to say that the Republicans leaving the House are not endangered members, but rather that they are leaving seats that are sure to stay in the hands of the GOP. There's an extent to which this is true -- but it's far from the overall rule. Lincoln Diaz-Balart represents a district that came close to splitting its presidential vote evenly in 2008, a district John McCain carried by a narrow 51 percent to 49 percent margin. The Michigan district Republican Congressman Vern Ehlers announced yesterday he would be vacating was even more closely contested in 2008, splitting its vote 49 percent to 49 percent between McCain and Barack Obama.

So regardless of the spin you hear out of the Beltway today, do realize that there is simply no way in which this is good news for the Republicans. It's just not. Instead, it's an indication that a great number of House Republicans -- those on the front lines, those actually seeing the internal polling -- don't believe their party has a legitimate shot at retaking the House in 2010.

Republicans Fleeing the House

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. 

Diaries

Advertise Blogads