House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is concerned that the retirement of Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski has triggered a threat to the Democratic talent base in Congress, The Hill
After the 78-year-old announced earlier this month that she plans to retire
at the end of 2016, there has been jockeying among House lawmakers who are thinking of making a bid for her seat.
"I think you could probably say that Sen. Mikulski's decision not to seek re-election has caused a stunning change in our House Democratic Caucus, if everyone who says he or she is running decides to run," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol, according to the Hill. "I think that's the biggest hit in terms of the talent in the House."
Maryland Reps. Chris Van Hollen,
and Donna Edwards
have already thrown their hats into the ring.
Maryland Reps. Elijah Cummings, John Delaney, John Sarbanes, and Dutch Ruppersberger have also expressed interest in the race.
"I think almost everybody — not Steny [Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer] — but almost everybody else is looking at the race," Pelosi said. "Hopefully over the course of the next few weeks or months, there'll be some winnowing down."
Pelosi noted that the concern extends to races in other states that may be drawing talent from the House to the Senate, including California, Illinois and Florida.
"We're used to improving the talent in the Senate, sending over some of our very best people. It's just that so many of the people who are in the [House] leadership ... are looking at that," Pelosi said, according to The Hill.
"And so my view is bittersweet. You know, I want members to reach their own personal fulfillment, and they'd be great [senators], I know. I also want to see some generational change in the House."
Pelosi specifically mentioned California Rep. Xavier Becerra, head of the House Democratic Caucus, Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth, and Florida Rep. Patrick Murphy as potentially leaving the House next year in a bid for the Senate.
She added that the list "is not inclusive of all the names of people who are thinking about running" across the country.
"If I had my way I'd have none of them run, they'd all stay here and continue to enrich our leadership in the House," Pelosi said, according to The Hill. "But that's not how decisions are made.
"They're personal and individual and timely in people's lives and in their careers, and the contribution that they can make and the opportunity that they have."
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