Generally speaking, it is considered polite to at least wait until the new Congress begins before one starts to speculate on who will be leaving it soon. It should be extra-exciting this year because there’s at least two Republican Senators (Paul and Rubio) who are eyeing the brassiest of brass rings – the Presidency – and both of them are up for re-election next year. Heck, both of them are freshmen. Two Democratic Senators are also contemplating their Presidential chances, too – Warren and Sanders – but I don’t think that either of them will quit the Senate in order to run, which is frankly sensible of them.
Should be fun! No, really. I love retirements. It messes up everybody else’s careful calculations, at least briefly. I feel that this is generally a good thing for people; teaches them that the whole thing can’t be turned into a spreadsheet.
I will believe it when I see it, but that’s the buzz right now: “[CNN’s John King was] told the Florida special election results were the last straw for at least two and perhaps more House Democrats facing tough 2014 races.” The problem with that is that it’s late for retirements; primary season has already started and at this point anybody who retires is going to put his or her party through an unseemly scramble to find a replacement. Pulling this on the Democratic party would be highly obnoxious, in other words; and while I don’t personally care I can still say that it’s not very professional to put your caucus through that sort of thing. Continue reading *More* Democratic House retirements this week?
5 Democrats, 8 Republicans, according to Wikipedia (and virtually all of them are running for something else). In contrast, 40 Congressmen retired during 2012’s election cycle, 37 during 2010’s, 33 during 2008’s, and 28 during 2006’s*. So either we’ve got a bunch of retirements coming up – always a possibility, although primary deadlines aren’t that far away – or maybe we’re finally running out of low-hanging Congressional fruit.
I don’t have an answer on this, actually; it just seemed of interest.
*Mostly more Republicans than Democrats in the last four cycles (more Democrats than Republicans in 2012).
(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. Continue reading #rsrh On the recent run of Democratic retirements.
The Washington Post, on fallout from the recent retirements of Democratic members of Congress:
What most concerns Democrats is that the latest round of retirements will prompt other longtime lawmakers in competitive districts to rethink their reelection plans, [former DCCC Chair Martin] Frost said. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, acknowledged that “some more” Democratic retirements will be announced before the end of the year, but that the number will be “nothing on the scale of 1994, when you had 28 Democratic open seats” and the party lost control of the House.
Unfortunately for Van Hollen, the Washington Post isn’t interested in supporting the spin:
Joe Gaylord, who was chief strategist for former House speaker Newt Gingrich in the 1994 cycle, said Democratic retirements accelerated in 1994, compared with their pace in 1993, and he predicted the same could happen this time. “It got collectively worse as they moved along,” he said.
In other words, it’s early days yet. And take that cliche however you like.
Crossposted to RedState.