More than a year before the 2022 midterm elections, a growing number of House Democrats are either retiring or seeking other offices — a growing sign that a Republican takeover of the House looms large next year.
On Monday afternoon, veteran Democratic Reps. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania and David Price of North Carolina announced their retirements from Congress next year.
The announcements come on the heels of a similar “outta here” on Friday from House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky.
Late Monday, rumors were rampant in the Albany, N.Y., area that veteran Democrat Rep. Paul Tonko would join their ranks and retire.
All told, eight Democrats have announced their retirements from the House and five others are leaving to seek other offices.
In contrast, three Republicans are retiring from the House and six are seeking other offices.
Doyle and Price come from safe Democratic districts that are unlikely to be redrawn as potentially Republican in the redistricting process.
But both have districts that could be potentially eliminated by the redistricting knife.
In Pennsylvania, the Republican-controlled state legislature could easily finish Doyle’s Pittsburgh-based district — very possibly merging it with the neighboring Western Pennsylvania district of Rep. Conor Lamb (who is leaving to seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate).
Price also could experience the carving up of North Carolina’s 4th District, which has been Raleigh-based for all but two of the last 36 years.
The Tarheel State is gaining an additional House seat, and signs are strong that it will be carved to accommodate the ambitions of Republican House Speaker Tim Moore. The creation of a new district based on Moore’s Cleveland County bailiwick could involve finishing Price’s turf.
Both Doyle and Price are considered moderate-to-liberal lawmakers who enjoyed respect across the political aisle.
"I first met Mike when I was elected to the state Senate, where he was top aide to a senior Republican colleague," former Rep. Melissa Hart, R-Pa., told Newsmax. "Everyone respected his experience and willingness to solve problems then. He switched parties when his boss did.
“In Washington, we would fight it out on Democrat vs. Republican policy, but when it came to issues affecting our Western P-A and Pittsburgh constituents, we worked together
Veteran Raleigh political analyst Marc Rotterman recalled Price as "a principled liberal who is his sincere in his beliefs and who has worked tirelessly on behalf of his constituents. He came into Congress at a time when there was more bipartisan cooperation."
Should the districts of both lawmakers survive the redistricting process, odds are strong that both will be replaced by Democrats from the party’s progressive wing.
In Doyle’s 18th District, state Rep. Summer Lee, a Democrat in the mold of New York’s Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is poised to run.
In Price’s 4th District, the early Democratic favorite is state Sen. Wiley Nickel. The former Obama administration official is a hero to organized labor for his efforts to overturn the state’s 1959 ban on collective bargaining among public employees.
Also "seriously interested" in seeking the open House seat is former state Sen. Floyd McKissick, Jr., namesake son of the 1960s civil rights leader.
More Democratic lawmakers are expected to make retirement announcements soon as the odds on a Republican House in 2023 grow.
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