Is the much-rumored
Democratic contraction underway in the House? The retirement
of Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) has unleashed a flurry of
prognostication. Baird is the third Democrat to retire in a hotly
contested district in the last month, with a total of 10 Democratic
retirees for the year. Is this a bad omen for Democrats or is it too
early to call?
- Potential Game-Changer, writes Chris Cillizza at The Fix: "Given the demographics, Republicans are likely to target Baird's seat
in 2010. More broadly, Baird's retirement will increase chatter within
Democratic circles that potentially vulnerable members are jumping ship
rather than running the risk of losing their seats in what is shaping
up to be a tough 2010 election."
- Officially Worried Eric Kleefeld at the left-wing Talking Points Memo writes: "Baird's district
could have a close race. It voted twice for George W. Bush by narrow
margins -- 48%-46% in 2000, and 50%-48% in 2004 -- before switching to
Barack Obama in 2008 by a 53%-45% margin."
- "A Very Good Sign for Us," writes Cassy Fiano
at the conservative Stop the ACLU blog: " If Democrats keep going the way
they're going, they're bound to see monumental losses in 2010. Their
options are basically to either retire, go against Obama & Co., or
get voted out of office. The way I see it, these three are just ahead
of the curve."
- Too Soon to Say, Watch Retiree Numbers writes Charlie Cook
at National Journal: "This is still very early in the process and only
Illinois, which has a
Feb. 2 primary, has already seen its Nov. 2 filing deadline pass with
no retirements other than that of Kirk." However, if the number of
Democratic retirees balloons past 15, Republicans will have "a real
opportunity to hit one out of the park."
- It's Not About Retiree Numbers, It's About Psychology, writes Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic: "It almost doesn't matter whether the Democratic
retirement rate appears normal (although most state filing deadlines
are way off). It matters how the political class perceives the
collection of decisions. The media will certainly try to find a
pattern, and the more they talk about the pattern, the more the
political ionosphere charges to the benefit of Republicans."
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