Over the past several months, a number of high-profile congressional Democrats have announced that they will retire before next year’s midterm elections.
In a somewhat shocking moment this weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) refused to confirm whether or not she will be joining them.
According to The Hill, Pelosi was asked by CNN host Jake Tapper during a Sunday interview about her 2022 election plans, a topic of sincere interest for many, given the prediction that Dems are likely to suffer wide-ranging losses across the country which will result in the loss of power in the lower chamber.
Pelosi, who has held her San Francisco district seat since 1987 simply chuckled before answering, “Oh, you think I’m going to make an announcement right here and now?”
No decision yet
When Tapper later pressed her on the topic once again, Pelosi indicated that she would “probably” run before cautioning that she would need to “have that conversation with my family first, if you don’t mind.”
Democratic House Nancy Pelosi won’t say whether or not she plans to run for Speaker again if Democrats keep the House, telling @jaketapper she will that conversation with her family first. pic.twitter.com/BrvnGmcMsr
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) October 24, 2021
Pelosi’s caginess came less than a week after Fox News reported that North Carolina Rep. David Price (D), and Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle (D), both signaled their intention to retire.
“I am announcing today that I will not seek re-election as representative for North Carolina’s Fourth Congressional District,” Price revealed in a statement. The long-time Democratic congressman went on to express “a profound sense of gratitude” to the voters and staff members who supported him over 18 election cycles.
The Biden curse
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) later told Fox News that the wave of retirements is a sign that many Democrats aren’t confident in their party’s chances of winning next year.
“Once you get past Thanksgiving and members go home, and they’re Democrats and they’ve been challenged before and they’re going to get beat up, Congress is not that great,” McCarthy explained.
While Fox News stressed that that nine Republican members have also announced their retirement, it noted that all but one come from districts where they won by more than 10 points in 2020. In contrast, many of the departing Democrats hold seats where the electoral margin is far closer, leaving the potential for multiple open seats, which Dems certainly can’t afford.
Some observers have suggested that President Joe Biden’s collapsing poll numbers could prove to be a heavy drag on Democratic candidates. FiveThirtyEight’s polling average gives Biden an approval rating of just 43.4%, which is abysmal by presidential standards.