Wisconin Rep. David Obey's announcement that he will retire
number of vacating Democrats in the House to 17, compared with 20 such
Republicans. But with Democrats facing what most analysts predict will
be a very difficult election cycle in November, and party leaders
fretting about holding on to their majority, how worried should they be
- Every Retirement Makes a Difference With
the margins so close, warns NBC News' Domenico Montanaro, Democrats
should worry about every Congressman who retires in a swing district.
"Projections for this fall's midterm show Republicans poised to make big
gains in the House, perhaps coming close to or even taking over control
of the House. Republicans need 40 seats to win control."
But Averted Disaster The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza says that
while the trend "should be troubling for party strategists, the
predictions of a flood of Democratic retirements in the wake of Sen.
Scott Brown's (R-Mass) victory on January 19 have not yet come to
fruition." If this holds, "Democrats will have avoided the doomsday
situation many painted for them following Brown's win in Massachusetts
but they are far from out of the woods."
- No Democratic Exodus
Hotline's Amy Walter deflates the
fears. "Despite the hand wringing around DC this morning that [Obey's]
retirement will open the floodgates for more high-profile Dem
retirements, the reality is that there aren't many 'surprises' left.
Talk of an 'exodus' of Dem retirements after the health care vote, it
hasn't happened -- and it won't," she writes. The majority of districts
have closed filing, which means that retirements would have announced by
now. "And, frankly, there just aren't that many potential retirees
- Why Retirements Matter Long-Term GOP
Strategist Patrick Ruffini looks to
districts where the GOP might be popular but a Democratic incumbent can
hold on to the seat for years. Ruffini calls retirements "our best means
of forcing change on these districts." However, "those can come all too
slowly." Ruffini reminds us that although it can take decades for an
entire Congress to cycle, everyone eventually retires, dies, or is voted
- Obey: I'm Retiring Because of Senate Many House
Democrats have expressed anger at the Senate, where the slim majority
and unusual rules mean that some key pieces of legislation, such as
health care, have been crafted to pass the Senate, making the House's
efforts less relevant. Now Rep. Obey has
cited that as a reason for his retirement, raising the possibility
that other House Democrats will throw in the towel because of Senate
intransigence. Obey wrote in his retirement announcement: "All I do know
is that there has to be more to life than explaining the ridiculous,
accountability destroying rules of the Senate to confused, angry, and
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