December 10th, 2009
05:18 PM ET
11 months ago

Democrats downplay House retirements

Republicans argue that retiring House Democrats are avoiding tough re-election bids next year.
Republicans argue that retiring House Democrats are avoiding tough re-election bids next year.

Washington (CNN) – House Democrats are pushing back against GOP claims that Rep. Brian Baird's decision to not seek re-election signals that the party in power is in store for a drubbing in 2010.

With his announcement Wednesday, Baird, a six-term Congressman from Washington state, became the third Democrat this year to announce plans to retire. Six other House Democrats are leaving at the close of the 111th Congress to seek another office.

The National Republican Congressional Committee heralded Baird's decision as a sign that "Democrat incumbents are feeling the ground shaking underneath them" as they head into the next cycle.

Not so fast, argues Ryan Rudominer of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Rudominer pointed out that at this time in 2007, roughly one year before the GOP took a beating for the second straight election cycle, 15 House Republicans had announced their retirement. Three more Republicans had chosen to leave their seats in pursuit of higher office.

"All year long, national Republicans have predicted a tidal wave of Democratic retirements and just like they falsely predicted winning last month in a seat that had been Republican since the Civil War, we haven't seen anything like the number of Republican retirements at this point last cycle," Rudominer said in an e-mail.

Though the political landscape looks good for House Republicans next year, Democrats have not seen the same wave of retirements that occured before Republicans famously took back the House in 1994, when 28 Democrats chose not to seek re-election.

But Ken Spain, communications director for the NRCC, insisted that Republican victories in the the Virginia and New Jersey governor's races have incumbent Democrats starting to re-think their futures.

"Democrats can spin their retirement problem all they want, but they know deep down that members of their caucus are looking at the same abysmal poll numbers as everyone else and wondering if it is better to retire now or lose in November," Spain told CNN.


Filed under: 2010 • DCCC • House • NRCC
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Paul from Phoenix

    This is what happens to the GOP in 2005, congressman and senators retired, and the Dems took control in 2006.

    December 10, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  2. Gilbert Felix

    Republicans are just scared and, as always, create unfounded fallacies to boost their own pathetic numbers and rally support for their tired ideals.

    Dems 2010!!

    December 10, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  3. Gonzo in Houston

    As long as unemployment remains high, incumbent democrats will be vulnerable to mainstream or moderate republicans. Any far-right, tea-party wingnut that somehow gets nominated will be flattened. If, by some miracle, unemployment is below 8% and dropping by November of next year, the GOP will be doomed.

    December 10, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  4. Pragmatic

    Let's see ... Palin left 2 1/2 years into her term as governor ... Denny H, former speaker of the house left without completing his term and then there was that republican senator – ran for 6 year term – served one year and then became a lobbyist .... those are just the quitters ... and you can also count Mark Foley ...

    Didn't do a body count on how many republicans didn't run for re-election in 2008 but it was double digits ... so your point in pointing out a few Democrats who are retiring is ?????

    December 10, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  5. Joe M

    Is there any way we can dump Obozo, along with the rest of these scumbags??? It is time to put Obozo, out of business either he quits, which he wont do or impeach him..I am sick of seeing him on TV looking down his nose at everybody else.

    December 10, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  6. dustbunny

    This is off of the subject but. all you people that are ranting and raving about the repubs. saying no to this stuiped health care takeover. Don't you realize that the repubs can't do a dang thing to stop it. It is the dems. that are saying no and fighting with each other. The dems are eating each other over this lousy bill. So you libs can only blame yourselfs for this fight. I hope this bill goes down in flames.

    December 10, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  7. Frederick

    So... Why exactly are ominous premonitions a standard part of party politics? Instead of making vague threats and portents, wouldn't it be logical for these people to be... Y'know, doing their jobs?

    December 10, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  8. NC

    Republicans in 2010 and 2012. democrats just need to go.

    December 10, 2009 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  9. Sandra Schroeder

    It took the rRpublicans 8 years to get the country in the condition that it is in...how can you expect the mess to be cleaned up in a year. They have never done one thing for the average man. This President is smart, caring and articulate. I guess after 8 years of a President that engaged us in two wars, left the cost of it for the next guy to pay, took from the poor to give it to the wealthy and left our economy in shambles, Republicans fear that the bill is coming due and they may have to pay their fair share for a change. Bush never achieved anything in any business he ran and apparently depended on Cheney to do it. You can see where that got us. Obama told you during the primaries what he wanted to do, for goodness give him a fair chance to get it done.Bush had 8 years to change things and left the biggest mess since the depression. It was not the Democrates that gave us all the unemployment...place the blame where it should be.

    December 10, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  10. jules sand-perkins

    Oh, no–don't worry!
    Obama's going to fix it all up. He just needs a little more time, and a little more–well, maybe a lot more money.
    He'll take that from the rich.
    Everything's coming up roses!

    December 11, 2009 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
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