House Democrats Stall Member Retirements in Hopes of Maintaining Slim Majority
Democrats appear to be stalling a wave of potential retirements in the House ahead of the 2022 elections, with three key lawmakers announcing their intentions to seek reelection rather than seek higher offices or retiring this election cycle as the party hopes to hold on to their slim majority in the lower chamber.
Both Reps. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) and Madeleine Dean (D-PA) were suspected of eyeing higher political office in their respective states while Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) faced rumors of retirement, but all three have announced that they intend to seek reelection next year — a sigh of relief to the party as a whole, which suffered significant losses in the last election cycle. The unexpected losses resulted in the smallest party majority in over a century. Yet, prior to Election Day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) predicted “double digit” gains for Democrats.
According to Politico, six Democrats have announced their plans to depart the lower chamber in the next election, “most in swing districts where the lack of an incumbent likely makes it tougher for the party to hold the seat.”
Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH), Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Val Demings (D-FL) are among those who have announced plans to run statewide. Ryan is vying to replace Sen. Rob Portman (D-OH), while Crist is hoping to challenge Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), and Demings is hoping to challenge Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
“Rep. Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania will likely be added to that list, as he’s expected to jump into his state’s Senate race later this summer,” Politico reported, citing strategists who say the number of Democrat departures is “smaller than they expected” — a positive for Democrats, as many continue to signal their intentions of seeking reelection:
But party strategists say that figure is smaller than they expected, delivering a morale boost for Democrats as they brace for a midterm election that could dismantle their narrow majority. And some swing-seat members in Texas, Pennsylvania and Florida — many of whom were openly mulling futures outside the House — are now expected to stay put.
Another Democrat, Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.), has also been floated for a potential run for governor or state attorney general in his home state. But the former Phoenix mayor has recently told colleagues he does not plan to run statewide, according to a person familiar with the conversations. Down in Tucson, Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick has already announced her retirement.
According to the Press Gallery, House Democrats currently hold a 220-211 edge. Dave Wasserman, a political analyst and the editor of the non-partisan Cook Political Report, concluded that Republicans came within 32,000 votes of retaking the majority in the House.
Following the election, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) declared that the “slimmest Democrat majority since World War II” and lack of a predicted “blue wave” equaled a “mandate” against the Democrat Party’s embrace of socialism.
“They were all wrong. Not one Republican incumbent lost. Republicans won from Miami to New York to Minnesota to California,” McCarthy told reporters.
“I heard the Speaker called a mandate. It was a mandate against socialism. It was a mandate against defunding the police. It was a mandate against wasting a majority that the Democrats have done for the last Congress,” he added.
Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), told Breitbart News in February that he believes Republicans will take back the House in 2022.
“Our goal is Kevin McCarthy will be the Speaker and Nancy Pelosi will be retired,” Emmer said. “I don’t know if you remember, but when the election was over she wasn’t willing to say this would be her last two years.”
“We’re going to make sure this is her last two years as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. I think our kids and our grandkids are counting on it. So, how are we going to do that? It’s the same template, it’s the same plan we put together in the last Congress,” he continued:
We’ve identified the 47 seats, 29 that are within the margin of error for us to win back, and then the remaining weak candidates and candidates that could suddenly come into play because of redistricting. But it’s going to take exactly what we did last time. We’ve got to recruit excellent candidates, we’ve got to have the right message, and then we have got to raise the right resources. We’re not going to have—the Democrats burn money on a daily basis, and frankly they don’t do it very efficiently. If we raise enough resources–and you saw what we did in the last election, we are razor sharp with where we need to put those resources. I’ve got to give our NRCC team credit. I’ve got to give our leader, Kevin McCarthy, credit. I’ve got to give our colleagues over at the Congressional Leadership Fund credit, because this group, contrary to all the naysayers out there and all the so-called experts, surgically went in and worked the races we needed to put us in a position to take back the majority. We came up just five seats short and the goal is now to finish what we started. Our job here over the first year here, 2021, will be to redefine the opposition. As we come in to the next year, the election year, 2022, we will continue to define these members so people understand they continue to support this socialist agenda, this radical agenda.
“At the same time, Kevin McCarthy, our leader, will roll out his positive agenda—a value proposition for the American voter so they can see the Republican Party is the party with solutions for Main Street, and I think that will be a winning combination going into November 2022,” he added.