Pelosi Suffers Historic Blow as Democrats Hit 30-Year High for House Retirements

The number of House Democrats retiring this year has hit a 30-year high, dealing a massive blow to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) hopes of holding on to power after the midterms.

Rep. Kathleen Rice’s (D-NY) decision to retire without seeking reelection this week made her the 30th House Democrat to flee the sinking ship in this cycle.

Th number is the highest for the Democratic Party has seen since 1992 when 41 House Democrats decided to retire.

Bill Clinton won that year with Ross Perot splitting the vote so that little bit of history offers no solace for Pelosi.

This is just the third time since 1978 that either party has seen at least 30 retirements in a cycle.

The last time it happened? In 2018 when 34 House Republicans retired and that ended up in a bloodbath for the GOP in the House with the Party losing 41 seats.

The GOP held onto the Senate but they had a good map that year.

The Dems do not have such a good map this year and because Biden is so unpopular, he is at 30% approval in Georgia and Arizona, Biden seems poised to lose the Senate as well as the House.

“More Democrats have decided not to run than Republicans,” said Eric McGhee, a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.

“That’s usually because the party that is disadvantaged by the way of election trends tends to see more retirements.

“Incumbents see the writing on the wall and figure why risk it when I could just quit?”

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“The 2022 elections are coming up quick, and Democrats need to decide now whether they want to retire or stick around and get fired,” said Calvin Moore, a spokesman for the Congressional Leadership Fund.

“Thirty House Democrats have called it quits because they know their majority is doomed,” said Mike Berg, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Kyle Kondik, the managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, said:

“Incumbency is not as electorally valuable as it used to be, but a party still would rather have an incumbent running, generally speaking, than not.

“Open seats are still easier for the opposition party to flip than incumbent-held seats.”

From CNBC:

While the president’s party historically loses congressional seats in the first midterm, Biden and Democrats face additional challenges.

The president’s job approval rating has plummeted to new lows in recent weeks amid concerns about his handling of the coronavirus and the economy.

It sat at 44% in December, down 2 percentage points from September and 7 percentage points from April, according to a CNBC/Change Research poll. Last week, his rating dropped to 43% in a poll conducted by Reuters and Ipsos. 

The escalation of tensions at the Russia-Ukraine border, Democrats’ failure to pass voting-rights legislation and the stalling of the highly touted Build Back Better domestic spending plan have exacerbated Biden’s troubles.

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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