10 to 15 House Republicans Might Retire. Or They Might Not.
Peter Savodnik, writing for The Hill, postulates that House Republicans could see 10 to 15 more retirements.
House Republicans have limited most of their retirements to conservatives in solidly red districts and a handful of statewide-office seekers, but political analysts say 10 to 15 more Republicans could announce in the coming months that they are stepping down. With the presidentÃ¯¿½s approval ratings between 35 and 40 percent, the unrest in Iraq and GOP scandals still problems for Republicans in polls, the number of possible Democratic pickups looks to be growing.
“If you look at past experience, it would suggest that you tend not to get a last-minute rush” of retirements, said Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “But I don’t know if that’s going to be the case this time. I think that actually the scandals, the problems, the headaches may cause a number of people two or three months from now to decide that maybe it’s time for a change, maybe they need to spend more time with their families. … I think we could see up to 40.”
For now, there are 25 open seats. Sixteen of those are held by Republicans, eight are held by Democrats and one is vacant and was previously held by a Republican.
In the past two weeks, Reps. Joel Hefley (Colo.) and William Jenkins (Tenn.), both Republicans, announced they will not seek another term. Amy Walter, a senior editor at the Cook Political Report, observed that in August 1993 there were three Democratic open seats. By March that had jumped to 22 and by July to 30. The critical question, Walter said, is whether there will be a similar cascade of Republican retirements in 2006 and, just as important, whether those retirements are in competitive districts. “The folks who have announced recently, Bill Jenkins and Hefley, those are very Republican districts,” Walter said. “To me, that doesn’t count in the category of the dominos are starting to fall.”
So, based on the fact that one time,
at band camp twelve years ago, a bunch of Democrats retired when there were some scandals, a bunch of Republicans could retire this year?
On the surface, 1994 and 2006 have some similarities. Both were/are off year elections. Both had/have president doing poorly in the polls and both Houses controlled by the president’s own party. Both had/have some financial scandals lowering the reputations of Congress as an institution.
But the similarities end there. 1994 was a perfect storm because all those things coincided with a radical change in campaign finance law that let lawmakers convert all of their remaining campaign funds into personal funds in a one-time-only deal. If a Member was re-elected, the window closed. A lot of them decided to take the money and (not) run.
And where is 2006’s Newt Gingrich? Is there an insurgent Democratic leader with bold ideas that are in synch with the desires of the American public? Nanci Pelosi? I think not.