Washington (CNN) - Despite a couple of high profile retirements by Democrats in recent days, the number two House Democratic Leader predicted Tuesday Democrats will retake control of the House of Representatives next fall.
"I fully expect us to take back the House," Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said at his weekly meeting with reporters on Capitol Hill.
Hoyer downplayed the decisions by two senior Democrats - Massachusetts Rep Barney Frank and Hispanic Caucus Chairman Charlie Gonzales, D-Texas – not to run for re-election in 2012. He pointed out there are fewer retirements now than there were at the same time after the 1994 election, when Democrats lost control of the House to the GOP after 40 years in the majority.
Hoyer said he didn't expect "a large number of future retirements" this election cycle.
For his own part, the 72 year old Maryland Democrat, who like Frank is serving his 16th term in the House, filed for re-election on Monday and has no intention of leaving Congress anytime soon. "When I don't like this job I'll get out. I still like the job."
Paul Lindsay, spokesman for the House Republican's campaign arm, dismissed Hoyer's prediction, telling CNN, "It must be painful for Steny Hoyer to keep a straight face while he cheerleads for Nancy Pelosi's hopeless campaign to become Speaker again."
Referring to the Democratic Whip's long service, Lindsay added, "apparently the decades Hoyer has spent in Washington have blinded him from the reality that House Democrats are choosing to abandon ship rather than face another round of punishment from voters in 2012."
But Hoyer explained that the reason the House is in play is because the American people are "looking for answers, not confrontation" and he argued GOP rule since 2010 has only yielded confrontation. He said this sentiment is reflected in opinion polls showing Congress rating only in single digits and noted that Democrats are ahead in the "generic" poll question that asks Americans which party they favor.
The Democratic Whip sidestepped a question about his former colleague, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is currently ahead in some polls of the 2012 GOP presidential field, saying simply, "Republicans have a candidate of the week" and joked that almost weekly GOP debates are "helping us greatly." But Hoyer also confidently predicted "whoever the candidate is Barack Obama is going to be re-elected."