The floodgates of democratic retirement have just opened


In total, there are now 22 Democrats retiring or running for other office this election cycle, compared to just 11 Republicans who are doing the same.

Two years ago, just nine Democrats announced their retirement plans at this point in the election while 24 Republicans had done the same, according to CNN’s political unit.

While there is always some attrition in a chamber as large as the House, the “who” leaving should worry Democrats.

Take Murphy. She is widely regarded as a rising star within the party and was due to run for the Senate in 2022 until her compatriot Val Demings (R) entered the race against Senator Marco Rubio (R).

His 7th District was targeted by State House Republicans in the Florida redistribution process, but it was not yet clear what the final siege would look like. Without Murphy in the running, Republican cartographers will likely go out of their way to make the seat a lot more user-friendly by their side.

Losing a member like Murphy – a stupendous fundraiser and talented activist – is always a blow, but even more so in an election like this where Democrats cling to their majority.

Ditto the retirements of powerful presidents like John Yarmuth (Budget Committee) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (Science, Space and Technology Committee).

When these kinds of members leave powerful positions or promising careers, it sends a very clear signal to every member of the Democratic caucus: Things are bad, I don’t see them improving and now is the time to head for the hills.

And that post, of course, has a snowballing effect as other members wonder if they should show up again and see that their colleagues have concluded that now is the time to get off the ship themselves.

Point: Democratic House leaders have worked desperately to avoid a rush to exit from within their ranks. It seems they failed.


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