Two House Democrats announced Monday they will retire as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy predicted that even more will be leaving as they contemplate the uphill battle he thinks Democrats face in 2022.
Democratic Reps. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania and David Price of North Carolina brought to 12 the number of House Democrats who have said they will not see re-election, according to The Hill.
McCarthy said that once members spend more time in their districts and sample voter discontent, more will decide this is the time to go out on top.
“Once you get past Thanksgiving and members go home, and they’re Democrats and they’ve been challenged before and they’re going to get beat up, Congress is not that great,” he told Fox News in a recent interview.
“Smart Democrats are fleeing Congress as fast as humanly possible because they know Democrats’ majority is coming to an end,” said Mike Berg, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, according to The Hill.
Some said that retirements do not translate automatically into Republican gains, noting that Doyle and Price represent solidly Democratic districts.
“Not all retirements mean the same thing. These Democrats who retire from safe seats don’t impact the path to hold the majority,” said Jesse Ferguson, who has served with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“Only members themselves know why they decide to retire. But if there’s an imbalance of retirements toward one party or another, it sometimes can tell us something about what the party with a lot of retirees thinks might happen in the midterms,” said Kyle Kondik with the political website Sabato’s Crystal Ball.
Democrats face a challenge in 2022.
Republicans need to flip only five seats to regain the majority lost in 2018 (assuming they don’t lose any of their own). Further, Republicans have history on their side, with a long-established pattern of the party holding the White House losing seats in the midterm election of a president’s first term.
Doyle noted that whoever succeeds him will compete in a different district once the redistricting process is complete.
“This is a good transition time for a new member to start in a newly drawn district,” Doyle said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Doyle was first elected to Congress in 1994.
Price has served his North Carolina district since 1987, with the exception of one two-year span, according to WRAL-TV.
He voiced concerns about the inability of Congress to get things done.
He said he was concerned about the “growing polarization … and growing dysfunction” of Congress, saying members should “learn the ropes and figure out how to make it work” for the voters.
“Democracy isn’t just about elections,” he said. “Even more, it’s about what happens between elections.”
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