Three more House Democrats have announced plans to retire rather than participate in November’s midterm elections, bringing the total number of Democratic Reps. planning to leave the chamber this year to a whopping twenty-three.
With 6 House Republicans retiring and 7 leaving to run for statewide offices, the GOP will need only a net gain of 5 seats to take back the majority lost in 2018 – a year in which 23 House Republicans retired.
“Once you get past Thanksgiving and members go home, and they’re Democrats and they’ve been challenged before and they’re going to get beat up, Congress is not that great,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in August, correctly predicting the wave of departures.
“[Democrats are] going to make a decision to retire – that’s the best time so they can go get another job. When we get that retirement number up higher, into double-digit figures, the whole thing becomes a different play.”
Boosting the GOP’s chances of regaining a majority in the House are Biden’s victory (a political party generally loses 25+ House seats when its presidential candidate is elected), his drop in public support, and this year’s redistricting process.
In addition, competitive races will become even more unpredictable in the absence of well-known incumbents with campaigning experiencing and full coffers.
Though the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is confident that its funds and agenda will be enough maintain a Democratic majority in the House, others aren’t so sure.
“If there’s an imbalance of retirements toward one party or another, it sometimes can tell us something about what the party with a lot of retirees thinks might happen in the midterms,” notes Kyle Kondik, managing editor of the political newsletter and election handicapper Sabato’s Crystal Ball.
Indeed, many of the Democrats who are retiring this year are committee chairs who may be in fear of losing their position.
As of December 21, 2021, 5 Republicans and 1 Democrat had announced plans to leave the Senate. You can view a full list of those leaving Congress by clicking the first link below.
List of US Congress incumbents who are not running for re-election in 2022
House retirement tracker: Senior Democrats exit as the GOP is confident of a takeover
Surge in House Democratic 2022 retirement announcements as 2021 comes to a close