[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/12/art.capitol.0201.gi.jpg caption="The list of retirements in the House of Representatives continues to grow."]Washington (CNN) - It seems it's becoming a trend.
"Having spent two decades in politics, my life is taking a new direction and I will not be a candidate for reelection this year," said Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island in a video message released Thursday night. Kennedy becomes the fourth member of the House of Representatives to announce over the past three days that they'll retire at the end of the year rather than run for re-election.
If you are keeping score, eight House Democrats have now announced they are retiring. That doesn't include former Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida, who has already stepped down, to head up the Center for Middle East Peace. A special election will be held in April to fill his seat for the rest of the year. Rep. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii is expected to resign later this month, to run full time for governor. A special election will be held for his seat in the next few months. Five other House Democrats are making bids for state wide office this year rather than run for re-election in November. That means that as of now, the Democrats will be defending 13 open seats in the midterm elections.
But it's not just a problem for Democrats. Six House Republicans are retiring at the end of the year, and another 12 are making bids for state-wide office rather than run for re-election. Do the math and you have the GOP, as of now, defending 18 vacant seats come November.
Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, the Chairman National Republican Congressional Committee, told reporters this week that "not all retirements are created equal."