The surprise retirement announcements last week of Reps. Jim Langevin, D-R.I. and Jerry McInerney, D-Calif., brought the number of departing Democrat U.S. House in 2022 to 28.
Given the swiftness with which “outta here” announcements have been coming in the last few weeks, some in the punditocracy have speculated that the number of exiters will tie or even break the modern high — 40 Democrats who left the House in 1992.
Some of the incentives for leaving the House three decades ago was the embarrassing revelation that many lawmakers were heavily overdrawn at the House Bank and had not made efforts to even their accounts over periods as long as several months.
But in 2022 there is no such scandal driving exits from the House. So what does the current number of 28 departing Democrats say about the coming elections?
Veteran North Carolina political analyst Marc Rotterman put it bluntly: “This many retirements by the Democrats seems to indicate that they don't want to serve in minority and that they sense a Republican wave in 2022.”
Speaking with Newsmax, Henry Olsen, historian and senior fellow at the Center for Ethics and Public Policy, said: “It says the House Democrats think they will lose, and that it will be a while before they regain the majority.
“I do not think the number of Democratic retirees will break 40, but that could change if the Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania maps [of redrawn districts] are especially problematic.”
Olsen’s analysis was seconded by Dan Schnur, professor at the University of California, Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies, and top aide to GOP former California Gov. Pete Wilson.
“These decisions can often be a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Schnur. “The Democrats still have a chance to keep their majorities, but every incumbent who walks away makes it harder.”
Franklin and Marshall College professor G. Terry Madonna, a respected pollster in Pennsylvania, observed: “As you know, midterms rarely are won by the president’s party. This year it’s even worse for the Democrats given Biden’s weak job performance.
"That translates into House and Senate losses for them. It’s understandable why more of them would retire rather than have to face a year of defending the president.”
Madonna added that “the more competitive a district, the more pressure to retire. Also, the Republicans control the redistricting process in more states so that could also be a factor for some.”
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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