Another one bites the dust.
Fox News reports that yet another Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives has announced their plans to retire ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, where Democrats are expected to suffer devastating losses.
House Dem caucus gets slimmer
The news of the impending retirement of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) was first announced Saturday. A true D.C. bureaucrat, Johnson has served in Congress for some three decades now, representing Texas’ District 30, which includes Dallas, since the early 1990s. She currently chairs the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
The 85-year-old said in her announcement that she would complete her current term in the lower chamber before stepping away from the political arena.
She didn’t take the opportunity to endorse a replacement; however, she said she hopes she’s succeeded in office by a woman.
“I will recommend to you who is the best to follow me,” Johnson said, according to Fox News. “My goal is to look for a female that is qualified.”
According to Fox 4 in Dallas, Johnson also vowed to back a fresh face for the role. “Anybody that’s already been rejected in this district, they will not be receiving my endorsement,” the Democrat said. “So whoever receives Eddie Bernice Johnson’s endorsement is going to start with a leg up in the race. That being said, members of Congress can’t pick their successors.”
Who’s up next?
Johnson is just one of many Dems who have said they aren’t going to be mounting re-election bids next fall. Others to announce plans to step aside include Democrat Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina. The 74-year-old and former leader of the Congressional Black Caucus said in a video message last week that it’s time to pass the torch.
“It is time for me to retire and allow the torch to be passed to someone who shares the values of the district and can continue the work I have labored so hard for the past 18 years,” Butterfield said, according to the AP.
It’s all bad news for Dems as they grapple with tough odds going into the midterms. Of course, Johnson’s retirement isn’t likely to help the GOP, since her district has long been strongly blue. In the last election, she beat out her Republican challenger by some 60 points, Fox News noted.
Still, Republicans are painting her retirement as a victory, suggesting many congressional Dems are opting to jump ship because they know what is coming: at least two years in the minority.
In a statement following Johnson’s announcement, a spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) told Fox News: “Committee chairs rarely retire unless their party is about to lose the majority. Smart Democrats know their majority is doomed because their policies have led to rising costs, skyrocketing crime, and a massive surge at the border.”