Freshman House Democrat Eric Massa has announced
he will not seek reelection. The announcement comes just over a year
into his first term, and rumors about the reason for his retirement have focused
on Massa's health -- he suffers from lymphoma -- and salacious sexual
allegations. Whatever the reason, the retirement could carry bigger
significance for a Democratic Party beleaguered by recent retirements
and looking ahead to a difficult 2010 election season.
- Red Districts More Hostile to Dems The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza notices
a trend in districts won by McCain's 2008 presidential run. "Massa is
the seventh House Democrat leaving a seat that Sen. John McCain
(R-Ariz.) won in 2008. That means that 43 percent of the Democratic
retirements in the House so far in this election have come in McCain
districts. It also means that 14 percent of the 49 Democratic members
who hold McCain districts are retiring this fall." If the trend
continues, Democrats could lose their majority in the House.
"Conventional wisdom has suggested that if Democrats have to defend 10
or more seats either won by McCain or narrowly carried by Obama that
their majority status might be legitimately in danger."
- Dems' Discipline Problem The American Prospect's Tim Fernholz warns
that between Massa and just-censured Democratic Congressman Charlie
Rangel, Dems need to work on their image. "Their failure to control
their members' shenanigans is overshadowing their last-ditch effort to
do one of the few big moves that would improve their chances. That
said, I don't think either of these stories seriously jeopardizes the
health care bill's chances of passage; the structural incentives are
there for the reconciliation fix plan to work."
- GOP Could Pick Up His Seat Roll Call's Paul Singer and Greg Giroux report
that Republicans already had their eyes on Massa's GOP-"leaning"
upstate New York seat, and could win it in November. "The GOP had been
targeting Massa for defeat in November, and the race to succeed him
will likely be competitive. He is the 15th Democrat to announce plans
to leave the House at the end of this year."
- Massa's Hard-Left Swing The New York Times reports
on his unique political journey. "Formerly a Republican, Mr. Massa
campaigned in 2006 on his opposition to the Iraq war, which
precipitated his switch to the Democratic Party. Mr. Massa has been a
proponent of a single-payer health care system and was one of 39 House
Democrats to vote against health care legislation, saying it did not do
enough to rein in costs." Could the Republicans-turned-liberal-Democrats
of the American political scene be a dying breed?
- New York Dems Really Struggling The Atlantic's Chris Good reminds us that Massa is far from the only troubled Democrat in the deep-blue state:
bad news for New York Democrats after what has already been a bad few
days: on Friday, Gov. David Paterson announced he won't seek reelection ... and today Rep. Charlie Rangel, the
senior Democrat from Harlem, announced he would step aside as chairman
of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee after the House ethics
panel found Friday that he had improperly taken gifts in the form of
trips to the Caribbean.
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