December 10th, 2009
05:18 PM ET
6 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. Kevin in Ohio

    Those democrats who are retiring are probably the smartest of the bunch. They KNOW they are are on the side of everything WRONG with America.

    December 10, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. Johnny DC

    What a shocker – Democrats taking bad news today and pointing to how it's not nearly as bad as something that happened 2+ years ago.

    Bad news is bad news. If we keep this up, we'll be getting gradually worse as a country for the foreseeable future.

    December 10, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. Gary

    Republicans are going to take over seats not because of these retirement but rather because the Democrats are not listening to the people. We don't want higher deficits, we don't want higher taxes, we don't want new entitlement programs, we don't want a public option in healthcare. Last November we voted democrat because we were fed up with Bush, NOT BECAUSE WE SUDDENLY TURNED LIBERAL!!! We want moderate social policies and fiscally conservative policies and stop taking money from the hardest working people to give to the laziest people....

    December 10, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    We're going to "retire" a few more republicans again next year.

    All they want to do is yell NO. If they can't at least try to help this country (instead of the major corporations), kick the bums out.

    NO MORE OBSTRUCTIONISTS.

    December 10, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. S Callahan ..make your life better read Psalm 51

    Glad you said it...I was thinking the same thing yesterday...I don't think it's a particular 'party' that is going to feel the floor shaking....I think it will be anyone who fails to represent the will of the people.

    December 10, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. PREDICTA

    Yep. Might as well leave before you're thrown out, I always say. They know that come November, people will be voting on the economy, which is not likely to improve by then. Millions will be asked, Are you better off now under Obama or was life better under the Republicans. 25 million unemployed have only one answer.

    December 10, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. Mr Independent

    What about all the republicans that have quit or decided to retire. I guess they're scared too right?

    Republican leaders are liars and their followers are idiots!

    December 10, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. C Spurgeon

    I think we should have term limits for all and cut the benefits with the idea that they return to the workplace like other americans.I will be assessing all incumbents with the aim of habving other choices. I think the Republicans as obstructors have done a total disservice to the country. I thinkn Democrats have showed many weaknesses in standing together to move the country forward.?? Hopefully better is coming up on both sides.

    December 10, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  9. RichP the Pocono's

    Lets get them all out and pick random people off the streets with common sense and who actually care about the country, we could not do any worse than what we have now.

    December 10, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. Jann in Denver

    The GOP is clearly despirate to make something out of nothing.

    December 10, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  11. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    Yawn. Repubs characterize everything as bad for the Dems and the Dems characterize everything as bad for the Repubs.
    Soundbites and bashing....this is American politics today. What is truly sad is we all know this is going on but the partisans among us will pick their side and run with anything said that bashes the other side.
    Oh, and we know people vote with their pocketbooks. When times are bad, the party currently in office gets voted out and the other party voted in. If bad times continue, we flipflop again. Who was is that said people deserve the government they have?

    December 10, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. gt

    i hope that neanderthal grayson retires ,,,what a vulgar , mouth he has,,, how embrassing to have one like that him and his pottsy mouth as your house rep.

    December 10, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. It's getting hot in the Dem caucus.......

    they're bailing out left and right......can't wait for the Nov elections......

    December 10, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  14. Jokes aside

    GOD HELP AND BLESS AMERICA!!, This is a society full of emotional people with short memory!. Its not the democrates its the retardedblicans who tanked the economy!. It takes time to clean the mess especially when the mess makers are not contributing on the clean-up exercise!!. Wake-up America and smell Obamas freshly made coffee!!. This guy is not a joke he will clean the mess whether the angry old men participate or not!!

    December 10, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  15. Dean

    They should all retire. Republicans and Democrats alike. We need to completely get rid of all the old ways in Washington and start fresh.

    December 10, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. mjm

    Everyone knows the Democrats are done in 2010.

    They spent over 3 trillion in the first year and have nothing to show for it. They are attempting to destroy health care.

    They had their chance and they are a disaster.

    December 10, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  17. Right wingnuts are as dumb as a woonsocket

    I really cannot imagine that people would be afraid to run against the republican party. Republicans have been on the wrong side of everything in the last 8 years:Tax cuts for the wealthy, Iraq, torture, wiretapping citizens and military, detention camps, and health care for Americans.

    December 10, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  18. Aspen Professor

    BOY! Those Republican just have no idea how America thinks of them to a ratio of 80 – 20%.

    Hark on these words oh Republicans - the shadow of Bush – Cheney is still covering your party with mud. They were and still are: liars, arrogant, hypocritical to the bone and dumb as a doorknob.

    December 10, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  19. Right wingnuts are as dumb as a woonsocket

    Don't forget that "W" gave Obama a $1.2 billion deficit.

    December 10, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  20. Right wingnuts are as dumb as a woonsocket

    The republican prediction of the demise of the democratic party in 2010 is a bit premature. This is not going to be one of those republican lies that people believe if you say it enough.

    December 10, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  21. Lori in St Pete

    Good for them. The rethugs are all about term limits. Perhaps a few long- serving rethugs should take a que from the dems and walk the talk.

    December 10, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  22. Jack

    For you Republican that think you are on the upswing, There are number of us Independents that were good Republicans that will not be voting Republican as long as you are intune with the current crop of Republicans, Russ, Shaun and the Religous Right!

    Bush was right at the end of his 2nd term to have distanced himself Russ, Shaun and the Religous Right! I surely wouldn't want to be aligned with them.

    And a I am definitely not a Democrat or a Ron Paul supporter. I am an Independent and a moderate. I will vote only that way, so Republicans on the present stripes, please crawl back under your rocks! The current crop of you act way too childish for my taste!

    December 10, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  23. Ron

    As a registered republican, with growing distaste for both parties, I agree with the comment that it's time to take them all out.

    December 10, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  24. Beverly in NC

    Congressional House seats are stressful because the person must be re-elected every 2 years. These people have served us for a long time and I am sure are ready for a well-deserved retirement after their service to our country.

    Republicans are just trying to divert attention away from their high disapproval rating and a full year of doing NOTHING except telling lies, spreading fear and hate, supporting racist lunatic groups, and criticizing everything positive for the restoration of our nation they destroyed. Republicans are losers and we will make sure more of these traitors to American are removed from office in 2010 and 2012. It's obvious they are not in Congress to serve – only to obstruct and offer NO solutions or ideas. We need leaders who are ready to uphold their oath of office and serve the People, not the lobbysits, who elected them.

    Goodbye GOP!

    December 10, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  25. Bear

    They are not retiring out of fear. They no longer need the money. They SCREWED us out of it in the last 11 months so bad, they can all afford to retire for life. It's only the glutonously greedy ones like Pelosi, Reid and Dodd who refuse to back away from the taxpayer trough they created with our money. Even Obama is planning his exit strategy for 2012. He has mentioned several times that he doesn't expect to be a two term prez.

    TERM LIMITS and PERP WALKS!!! Purge the system of these parasites.

    December 10, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
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