Powerful House Democrat joins flood of retirees in both parties

 March 28, 2024

Chair of the New Democrat Coalition Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH) announced Wednesday that she will not seek re-election in November, noting that she would be 70 at the end of a term that started in 2025.

 "As I look to the future, I am excited by the work and opportunities that lie ahead. We all have a role to play in standing up for what we believe in," Kuster said in a statement.

“Most of my colleagues do not realize that, if I stayed another cycle, I [would turn] 70. They think — because of my haircut, or whatever — [that] I was younger. I’m not. So I’m super excited that there’s a generation of leaders that is kind of untapped," she went on.

She pointed out, "I always said I was not going to stay in Congress forever." She has served six terms since joining the House in 2012.

Leaving the House

Kuster said she would continue to lead the center-right coalition of about 100 House members through 2024, but will then leave Congress.

More than a dozen Democrats are retiring this year without running for another office, along with about a dozen Republicans. Some, like former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, have already left.

Others, like Reps. Ken Buck (CO) and Mike Gallagher (WI) will be departing in the next few weeks, long before the end of their terms.

Even more lawmakers are planning to run for Senate or another office. All 425 House members are up for re-election, since House terms are only two years.

The New Democrat Coalition is also losing its vice chair, Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) who said last November that he wasn't seeking re-election.


Many of the lawmakers who declined to run in 2024 have cited a lack of productivity and chaos as the reasons for their departure.

On the Republican side, 2023 saw the ouster of Speaker Kevin McCarthy over disagreements about budget cuts and multiple rounds of voting before current Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) was installed.

Since the ouster, several Republicans including McCarthy have left in the middle of their terms, causing vacancies that further narrow the majority.

Currently, the majority only allows for three Republicans to vote against a bill without Democrats gaining the upper hand on a strict party-line vote.

Once Buck and Gallagher depart, the majority could be as thin as one vote, making it difficult to pass any legislation that isn't supported by at least a few Democrats.

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