Another House retirement in a swing district
January 14th, 2014
02:03 PM ET
8 months ago

Another House retirement in a swing district

Washington (CNN) - The list of House members retiring at the end of the year rather than running for re-election keeps growing.

Democratic Rep. Bill Owens of New York State announced Tuesday that he won't seek another term, leaving another competitive seat open for the midterms.

"After careful thought and consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election for the 21st Congressional District this November. I have enjoyed the opportunity to travel the district, meeting and serving the families and business owners of this vast community. It has truly been a privilege to serve, and I plan on continuing to work for a brighter future for the region," the centrist Democrat said in a statement.

Nine Republicans and five Democrats in the House have announced they are retiring rather than run for re-election in 2014.

That count does not include lawmakers who've already resigned or have died in office.

Besides Owens, those lawmakers passing up re-election campaigns this year are Spencer Bachus, R-Alabama, Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota), John Campbell (R-California), Howard Coble (R-North Carolina), Jim Gerlach (R-Pennsylvania), Tim Griffin (R-Arkansas), Tom Latham (R-Iowa), Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Carolyn McCarthy (D-New York), Mike McIntyre (D-North Carolina); George Miller (D-California), Jon Runyan (R-New Jersey), and Frank Wolf (R-Virginia).

Democrats need to win a challenging 17 seats to regain control of the House for the first time since 2010.

New York's 21st Congressional District is the largest geographically in the state. It covers most of the North Country, from Lake Champlain west to the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Owens won the seat in a 2009 special election, and was reelected twice. He never captured more than 50% of the vote in any of his three victories. Barack Obama carried the swing district by 5 points in his 2008 presidential victory by 6 points in 2012.

The National Republican Congressional Committee says the Owens announcement hurts Democrats.

"Make no mistake, Owens's retirement is a massive blow to Democrats' ever-dwindling hopes for the 2014 election. Clearly vulnerable Democrats would rather exit Congress voluntarily than be forced out by voters because of their support for Obamacare and other disastrous Democrat economic policies," Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, the National Republican Campaign Committee chairman, said in a statement.

"If Democrats in swing districts like the 21st District of New York are heading for the hills, the chances of Nancy Pelosi becoming Speaker of the House have been downgraded again," he said.

Walden's Democratic counterpart is confident the seat can stay in party hands, pointing to a GOP primary battle.

"While Republicans are already fighting a bitter and divisive primary, I have no doubt that another commonsense Democrat will fill his shoes in this competitive district that Democrats have held for the past three elections," said Rep. Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Three Republican candidates are already in the race, with more possibly to come.

Two of the top non-partisan political handicappers quickly moved their ratings on the district. Both the Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Political Report now consider the race a toss up.

CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this story


Filed under: 2014 • Bill Owens • Congress • DCCC • House of Representatives • NRCC
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    New York's 21st Congressional District is the largest geographically in the state. It covers most of the North Country, from Lake Champlain west to the St. Lawrence Seaway.
    ---------------------------–
    ...which means it contains most of Adirondack Park. One of the few places in East where you can plainly see the dense band of colorful stars and gas clouds that make up the Milky Way. There are places within the park where there are no city lights for 50-100 miles in any direction, which means that they are well over the horizon. The largest towns in the park have very few if any street lights, and most have populations of less than a few hundred people.

    January 14, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Republicans have done everything to hold on to any slice of power from gerrymandering districts, voter ID laws & even voter fraud(they complain about it, yet they're the one's who do it). I have no doubt that if democrat turnout is what it was in 2012, we will take back the house.

    January 14, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    I told you it is signaling TERM-LIMITS. PASS THIS ONE. Repeal–care, competence,recovery restore–war, hate corruption, recession–vote rethuglican14 , or else vote direct democratic ticket...

    January 14, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Really? During such an important election as 2014 is going to be?
    Do they think that this is the time to bow out?
    Nancy Pelosi needs to have a pow-wow with some of these folks....unless there's something they don't want to come out during an election.

    January 14, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. O'drama ya Mama

    Rudy NYC

    New York's 21st Congressional District is the largest geographically in the state. It covers most of the North Country, from Lake Champlain west to the St. Lawrence Seaway.
    ---------–
    ...which means it contains most of Adirondack Park. One of the few places in East where you can plainly see the dense band of colorful stars and gas clouds that make up the Milky Way. There are places within the park where there are no city lights for 50-100 miles in any direction, which means that they are well over the horizon. The largest towns in the park have very few if any street lights, and most have populations of less than a few hundred people.
    January 14, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Used to go to summer camp up in North Creek. Such wonderful summers up there. Peace and quite for miles and miles and yes the best part was how well you could see the stars. Those were the days

    January 14, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    A tip of the hat to him. He decided to stay a total of 5 years. Wish there was more like him.

    January 14, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Anybody who votes republican , just consider yourself STUPID. What has the GOP done for anybody sense Obama got elected, ANSWER NOTHING!!!! Oh yea, they LOST 24 BILLION DOLLARS in 16 days and had 45 repeal obamacare votes at 1.5 MILLION DOLLARS apiece?????

    January 14, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    O'Drama ya Mama wrote:

    Used to go to summer camp up in North Creek. Such wonderful summers up there. Peace and quite for miles and miles and yes the best part was how well you could see the stars. Those were the days
    --------------------------
    I had never realized that you could see the stars in FULL COLOR with the naked eye, instead of the usual black and white.

    January 14, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  9. current state of the union

    Like Romney has a clue to what the truth is, had zero interest in telling the truth, zero, my personal favorite was the boys giving donations during sandy relief, priceless.

    January 14, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. Silence DoGood

    "The National Republican Congressional Committee says the Owens announcement hurts Democrats."
    Oh yes I will take that opinion very seriously coming from the party of Birthers, Creationists, and Muslim-Obama folks.
    Seriously.

    January 14, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    (Premature shutdown of the Pope/Obama story finds me posting this here)

    Lynda MInnesota
    One thing is for sure, this new Pope certainly has the right wing up in arms and blabbering in the wind
    -------------------------------------------------
    Yes but they can't very well start trashing the Pope can they Lynda, and completely alienate the Pink Hat Brigade and Christians at large?!
    This is just another one of those corners that the GOP has painted itself into by openly aligning themselves with the Christian Coalition versus staying out of religion and governing the way the Founding Fathers intended them to.
    And now, in one of God and/or life's quirky moments the Head Christian Honcho, the Big Kahuna, the Pope, is ideologically in sync with President Obama.
    They will be embracing, kissy-kissing, and the Pope will be blessing our duly elected President any day now.
    "God will choose the winner in 2008".
    "God will choose the winner in 2012".
    This is just too rich!!! Lol!

    January 14, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC
    which means it contains most of Adirondack Park.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Is this where Bear Mountain is Rudy?
    It's been so long, but I remember going up to Bear Mountain on school trips, many years ago for an Indian Pow Wow.
    Beautiful country, beautiful state my New York.

    January 14, 2014 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Make no mistake, Owens's retirement is a massive blow to Democrats' ever-dwindling hopes for the 2014 election. Clearly vulnerable Democrats would rather exit Congress voluntarily than be forced out by voters because of their support for Obamacare and other disastrous Democrat economic policies," Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, the National Republican Campaign Committee chairman, said in a statement."

    Oh, look. More GOPerville blubbering. Eventually the GOP is going to have to come up with a new motto for 2014.
    You know .... JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! ....Or something.

    "Blah, blah, blah, Obamacare" isn't going to bring the voter windfall GOPers are being told to expect at the polling booths.
    Oh, well. Who am I to argue with the brothers Koch?

    January 14, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  14. t

    ......and the GOP REPLACEMENT HEALTH CARE PLAN IS........................................

    January 14, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. CryBabies

    @DM4O...Mama, its already out there...the incompetency attached to the rollout of the ACA. It will only get worse. Age numbers came out today (finally) from the Administration. 30% age 34 and below, 33% age 55 and up. If those numbers hold or stay close, costs will increase markedly and care cutbacks will increase. Not what I wanted to happen. And you say (or spin) what?

    January 14, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. Fish

    I think we must consider public financing of campaigns because that would pay for itself in a very short timeframe. As it is now Congress wastes money like it is nothing because they are not accountable. With public financing of campaigns WE would allot a finite amount of money which could only come from the taxpayers instead of corporate donors thus they would automatically be working for the voters only which would beholden them to the public automatically forcing them to do our will versus others. No term limits required as the good ones will shine which we will want to retain, the bad ones would simply get voted out. Once we take the money out of politics everything will work out perfectly!!!

    January 14, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. Tampa Tim

    Note to baggers – 6 out of 10 Americans will pay less than $100 per month for healthcare under the ACA. Sounds like the gloom and doomers are on the wrong side of history again. In all fairness, the GOP plan doesn't cost at all, because there isn't one, you just get sick and die.

    January 14, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. Tampa Tim

    Don't feel bad baggers. Now that the right wing lies about ACA have been debunked, take comfort that you will always have the war on Christmas and Santa for your outrage.

    January 14, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  19. IA

    @t real simple....doing nothing was a better alternative to doing what the democrats did. Regardless of what the 99% of people( lefties) on this site say..."No" has its place in everything when lunacy takes over. The healthcare situation could have been handled better and more logically than using the Pelosi, Reid "steamroller" tactic. And yet here we are!

    January 14, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  20. Silence DoGood

    @CryBabies
    @DM4O...Mama, its already out there...the incompetency attached to the rollout of the ACA. It will only get worse. Age numbers came out today (finally) from the Administration. 30% age 34 and below, 33% age 55 and up. If those numbers hold or stay close, costs will increase markedly and care cutbacks will increase. Not what I wanted to happen. And you say (or spin) what?
    ----------
    ACA won't pass
    I mean web site won't work at all
    I mean no one will sign up
    I mean the web site won't work well enough (after conservative h@ck)
    I mean not enough people will sign up
    I mean not enough young people will sign up (after conservative campus beer blitz propaganda)
    I mean no more people will sign up
    .........did you hear about the birth certificate?

    January 14, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    "God will choose the winner in 2008".
    "God will choose the winner in 2012".
    -------------–

    You mean their ..."my dad's better than your dad"... defense?
    My all time favorite GOPer talking point.
    It cracks me up every time they use it.

    January 14, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |