It’s no secret that Democrats in the House, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), are facing an uphill battle as they struggle to hold onto their majority in the lower chamber in the November 2022 elections. And while part of that is due to the fact that historically, the president’s party takes a hit in the midterms, there also seems to be another factor at play.
According to PJ Media’s Rick Moran, a number of Democratic members of Congress have announced that they plan to retire at the end of their current terms, putting Pelosi and other Dem leaders in the House in a tough spot as they grapple with an already slim majority that is at risk of crumbling altogether.
“The cycle was tough enough anyway,” Matt Bennett, one of the co-founders of the centrist Democrat think tank Third Way, told Moran. House “retirements are the added kick,” he added, calling the situation “scary” for Dems.
Dem retirements complicate Pelosi’s plans
National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Tom Emmer (R-MN) agreed with Bennett’s assessment, saying that even Democrats know their chances of holding onto control of Congress’s lower chamber are far from stellar.
“House Democrats are sprinting to the exits because they know their chances of retaining the majority grow dimmer by the day,” Emmer said, according to Moran.
Among those who have signaled plans to leave Washington is Democrat Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, whose district was narrowly won twice by former President Donald Trump.
Bustos was head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) when the party lost roughly a dozen House seats in the 2020 elections, despite widespread predictions that Dems would expand their majority.
“As I turn every corner on each decade of life, I take time to reflect and evaluate what my next chapter might bring,” she said in a statement at the time, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “That’s how, 10 years ago, I decided to run for Congress. And it’s why today I am announcing I will not seek re-election after completing this term.”
Red, purple state Dems stepping down
Of course, Bustos is far from alone. According to Breitbart, Democrat Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ) and Filemon Vela (TX) have also confirmed that they are bowing out. What’s more, Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democratic congressman from Ohio, has announced plans to leave the House and run for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
In most cases, it remains unclear who will emerge as top contenders to fill these seats. But according to Moran, Dems ought to choose carefully. Candidates who are too radical in their policy proposals run the risk of alienating moderate voters across the country.
“Those angry Democrats play right into Republican hands,” the PJ Media columnist wrote. “Voters in Middle America tend to shy away from angry candidates — especially when they’re espousing positions on issues they disagree with.”
Moran went on: “Republicans will have their own slew of members retiring after 2022. But with prospects of regaining the majority rising, it’s not likely a lot of them want to leave now before the party gets underway.”