House Democrats who will not be running for reelection this year have reached the highest number in the last 30 years. The situation clearly reflects discontent with the standoff on Capitol Hill, the bad relationship between the parties, and the problems facing Democrats as they battle to maintain their slight majority. This could signal a massive ‘red wave’ in midterm elections. This is certainly not good news for Democrat President Joe Biden or his supporters.
Rep. Kathleen Rice announced her decision not to compete for reelection last week, making her the 30th Democrat in the House to do so. This is the most for the party since 1992 when 41 House Democrats announced their retirement just as their presidential nominee, Bill Clinton, was being elected to the White House.
According to numbers compiled by the nonpartisan Brookings Institution, this is only the third time since 1978 that either party has witnessed at least 30 retirements in a single election cycle. The last time this happened was four years ago, during the 2018 midterm elections when 34 House Republicans walked out. It was a foreshadowing of things to come. In a Democratic wave widely perceived as a referendum on President Trump, the GOP lost 41 seats and the House majority.
The Democrats are in for a tough year. With Biden’s low approval ratings, a delayed policy agenda in Congress, nationwide redistricting, and the historical trend of existing presidents’ parties losing seats in midterm elections, the Republicans’ chances of reclaiming the House are growing, per report.
To make matters worse for Democrats, the number of retirement announcements is expected to rise in the coming weeks as members approach their states’ candidate filing deadlines, which are often in the spring. Only 13 incumbent House Republicans are not seeking reelection, while two others have quit in recent months to accept employment in the private sector, in contrast to Democrats.
Despite the difficulties, Democratic leaders are putting on their best front, at least in public, believing that their legislative record under Biden will win votes in November.
To much dismay of Republicans, Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is running for reelection, so far.
Ballotpedia makes an attempt to keep track of politician activity, and stated the following about pending retirements: “As of June 2022, 55 members of Congress—six members of the U.S. Senate and 49 members of the U.S. House—have announced they will not seek re-election. Of those, 38 members—six senators and 32 representatives—have announced their retirement. Five retiring Senate members are Republicans and one is a Democrat, and of the retiring House members, 22 are Democrats and 10 are Republicans.
Seventeen U.S. House members are running for other offices:
- Five Republicans and four Democrats are seeking seats in the U.S. Senate.
- One Republican and three Democrats are running for governor.
- One Republican is running for secretary of state.
- One Democrat is running for mayor.
- One Democrat and one Republican are running for attorney general.
No U.S. Senate members are running for other offices.
Between January 2011 and February 2022, a total of 295 incumbents retired from the U.S. House and Senate. Out of every election cycle from 2012 to 2020, the 2018 cycle had the highest number of retirements at 55, and the 2020 cycle had the fewest with 40 announcements. From 2011 to 2021, there were an average of 26 announcements per year.”