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. Sadie

    Republicans choose your words with care make them nice and sweet you never know from day to day "Which ones you'll have to eat"

    December 10, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  2. terry,va

    Better to retire than get your behinds kicked say the spineless Dems. I don't want you to retire. Stay and defend your record and how you screwed the tax payers. It's easy to cut and run. Just ask Obummie.

    December 10, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  3. Brian

    Gary, your view on humanity stinks. Have some faith in your fellow citizens instead of blanketing with the term lazy! The idea of deserving versus underserving poor is a hand-me-down from the Protestant/English work ethic that has a long history of ignoring the poorest and denigrating them to squalor.

    Wouldn't it be humane to treat everyone in this country more equitibly? Isn't it important to have both rich and poor children start with good education opportunites and good health care? Then we could actually be close to realizing a meritocracy.

    Have some compassion and please don't be so self-righteous.

    December 10, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  4. JP Morgan

    The Dumbocrats are toast. They will be put out to pasture in 2010. The libtards who are trying to defend themselves know their expiration date is almost due and their days of trying to destroy the country are over. The only thing Dumbocrats and libtards know how to do is blame all of their problems on something that happened 2 years ago with a former president. Give it up Dumbocrats. You're all waste.

    December 10, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  5. Matt from PA

    The fact is that Obama has inherited a big mess and made it worse. The deficits are much much bigger. The economy is worst off than it ever was under Bush. Independent minded Americans understand that and if Obama doesn't get this country out of this recession than Democrats will lose the House in 2010 and the presidency in 2012.

    December 10, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. New Age Independent

    The Democrats are doomed and they know it. Failed policies and massive corruption throughout the party are finally being realized by all Americans. We've trusted them with our votes and our money only to have our trust betrayed by their greed of power. I can only thank God that I realized my mistake and will likely never vote Democrat again.

    December 10, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  7. mjm

    "Tax cuts for the wealthy"

    "If they can't at least try to help this country (instead of the major corporations), kick the bums out"

    Who do you think create jobs? Its wealthy corporations. You libs hate the very people who give you jobs.

    December 10, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  8. Brian

    I certainly hope the public gives Democrats more than two years to work out the country's problems.

    Like when a house burns down, the damage can be done in a few hours but the rebuilding will take much longer.

    Unfortunately our country was devastated for a whopping six years (when all branches were all Republicans) – meaning it will probably take more like 10-20 years just to get back to where we were before Bush took office. This fix will not be quick, and it will not be painless.

    But it should be done by Democrats. Republicans ruined our economy, our military, our international reputation and our morale as Americans. I'm not interested in seeing more of that any time soon. Elect Democrats.

    December 10, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  9. Wade

    All you Republican bashers need to get a few facts straight.
    The House and Senate were majority controlled by the Dems the last two years of Bush's term in office. As soon as the Dems took over, everything started to fall apart.
    Dems can't touch anything without messing it up.

    As for the Repubs being a party of NO, you're darn right.
    No to giving handouts to freeloaders. No to taking from those who earned their keep and giving it to those who prefer to sit on the couch and watch Oprah all day.

    December 10, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  10. Rebekah

    Are you kidding me! I now remember why I stopped reading these blogs! Obama CANNOT make businesses return to America! They make to much profit overseas by paying little wages.. Americans have put themselves into this mess and no amount of TAX BREAKS to big corporations is going to change that...Trickle down effect does NOT WORK..the rich will continue to get richer because we are to stupid to start making products in our country! Obama does not owe you a job! Why don't you get off your asses and build something, create something, teach something, everyone thinks it is not their responsibility to do this but another parties! Wake up you fools and start using the brains
    God gave you!

    December 10, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  11. I am the not-so-great and powerless wizard of Rush

    Putting the Republicans back in power is like giving your car keys to a convicted drunk driver.

    December 10, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  12. ib

    There will be a lot more demo's retiring after Nov. 2010 but not by their choice but the voters choice if they keep stuffing their far left agenda down our throats.

    December 10, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  13. Corey

    "They had their chance. They did not lead. We will!"

    December 10, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  14. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    Looks like one year of Obama and his Demodrones has wiped out 8 years of negatives for Republicans. Thanks Obozo, you are indeed bringing us together.

    December 10, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  15. Reggie

    THe dems are running scared, as they should. They messed up this great country.

    December 10, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  16. annie against biased news

    Maybe they are not retiring because they are afraid they will be defeated – maybe they are retiring because of the criminal actions of their party and decided not to be affiliated with the party that is trying to destroy our country!

    December 10, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  17. Terry Horn

    I think the Dems will loose their majority at least , in 2010.
    I dont see alot of people getting re-elected.
    They all took it on the chin for the Speaker.
    Palosi, alone will be the reason that Democrats, will take a tumble.
    I would say Harry Reed also, but Nancy should have the power to quiet this arrogant, narcissist.
    You cant call youre citizens names , and say that you can smell them.
    Remember a little over a year ago when Hillary said that dissent was good for the country, Oh but wait, now somehow its UnAmerican.
    Now Im sure that like many of my contributions to this page, CNN wont print it because they know , like I know that its just the plain truth.

    December 10, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  18. Genoa

    Ho Hum. Politicians attempting to create a perception, what else is new?

    December 10, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  19. J.C. - Independent 4 Public Option

    VP Cheney might be right about GOP's return in full force in 2010.
    Well, Democrats simply cannot lead in health care reform even in majority. Why should we waste our votes?

    What we really need is term limits on Congress. For example, two terms on and two terms off in the Senate and three terms on and three terms off in the House. We need to cut off the umbilical cord between special interests and Congress.

    December 10, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  20. Cyrus in Nashville

    The only reason why Democrats have lower popularity is because of the Republican obstructionists in the House. It is impossible to do anything in the Hose because even with a democratic majority, the Democratic Party is a coalition. Not everybody agrees with everything on the platform, and the divisive GOP is playing to that and creating wedges in our party. If we did not have people screaming and acting as if they were in Preschool every second of the day, health care would be passed, and we would be dealing with energy reform right now.

    December 10, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  21. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Rats, sinking ships, the usual drill...

    December 10, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  22. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    @woonsocket: I agree the GOP was a disaster for individual liberties and respect for the Constitution, but "the wealthy" of this country are insanely over-taxed to cover the free-loaders who pay no Federal taxes at all, and Federal involvement in the provision of health care is just as unconstitutional as anything the GOP ever did.

    December 10, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  23. m smith

    Gee you can't retire with out these jerks looking for a hidden meaning. The repos are full of hot air and if they make these crazy statements long enough the dumb wingnuts believe them. Instead start working for the average citizen who needs help now,instead of worring about the next election.

    December 10, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  24. No More Incumbents

    They took the money and ran...........

    December 10, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  25. Debbie

    Is Ken Spain, communications director for the NRCC, saying that Virginia and New Jersey Gov races have ALL Dems re-thinking their futures? That's just a dumb statement. I seriously doubt that all Dems are concerned about winning or not over two states.

    December 10, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
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