Washington (CNN) - Democrats in Congress, already worried about their dim prospects in the 2010 midterm elections, have been thrown in a tizzy about something else that could reduce their majority: retirements.
They are four departures down and worried about more members leaving districts that have grown more competitive. And they're right to be concerned: Districts without any incumbent running often wind up switching to the other party.
But there's much more to worry about. Consider the results of a recent "open seat" special election for the state senate in a Democratic district in rural eastern Kentucky: Republican Jimmy Higdon beat the Democrat Jodie Haydon by tying him to, of all things, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats.
"Congress is out of control," one effective ad intoned, "and [Haydon] will bring Nancy Pelosi's one-party control of government to Frankfurt."