(H/T: Instapundit) A quibble on this Hill article on Democratic retirements: technically, nine out of the seventeen (and counting) Democratic retirees are running for other offices. I’m guessing that they overlooked Bob Filner of California, who is running for Mayor of San Diego. For that matter, I think that Mike Ross of Arkansas is probably thinking about running for Arkansas governor in 2014; current (Democratic) governor Mike Beebe is term-limited, and you can still pretend to be a conservative Democrat in Arkansas and not be laughed at by the voters for the self-evident absurdity.
Past that, I’m not really all that surprised that some of the more senior Democrats are bugging out; they probably should have left last session. If you look at the last Congress, you’ll see that seventeen Democrats retired: this is somewhat lower than the the twenty-eight Democrats who retired prior to the 1994 shellacking (and the twenty-two Republicans who quit prior to the 2006 one). I suspect that this was due to the Democratic leadership exerting its influence over weary Congressmen, in the ultimately vain hope that keeping those seats occupied would also keep them safe for the party*. Now that the Democrats are probably back in the wilderness for at least a cycle or two, the appeal of more time in the wilderness may not appeal, for some.
The really interesting bit is that only seven Republicans have retired thus far, and arguably all of them have done so to run for other offices…
*Comparing numbers: after the 1994 shellacking twenty-eight Democrats retired the next year; after 2006, thirty Republicans did (and twenty more, after the 2008 debacle). Seventeen does not really seem to be all that unreasonable number so far, under these circumstances – particularly since a lot of long-term Congressmen didn’t survive three wave elections in a row.