As Flop Sweat Sets in, House Democrats Heading for the Exits Includes Those in Very Safe Seats

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The Democrats are facing an unprecedented series of retirements this year. As of today, 23 Democrat members of the House of Representatives have announced a decision not to seek reelection.

To get the best look at this, we need to dig beneath the surface layer of “not running” and take a look at why that might be.

Retirements and I’m Outta Here

Fifteen Democrats have announced their intention to either retire or to quit outright. Here is the roster. The number after their name gives the partisan split of the district they would be competing in for the 2022 election.

Ann Kirkpatrick–AZ/R+7

Lucille Roybal-Allard–CA/D+4 Redistricting put her into the same district as Alan Lowenthal and changed her D+57 seat to D+4.

Alan Lowenthal–CA/D+4 Redistricting put him into the same district as Lucille Roybal-Allard and changed his D+25 seat to D+4.

Jackie Speier–CA/D+54

Stephanie Murphy–FL/D+5 She was going to run for Senate against Marco Rubio, but the state Democratic party cleared the deck for Val Demings to run.

Cheri Bustos–IL/D+4

John Yarmuth–KY/D+20

Albo Sires–NJ/D+46

G. K. Butterfield–NC/D+1

David Price–NC/D+42

Peter DeFazio–OR/D+9

Michael Doyle–PA/D+27

Filemon Vela–TX/D+17

Ron Kind–WI/R+9

Running for Senate

Val Demings–FL/D+21

Tim Ryan–OH/District eliminated

Conor Lamb–PA/R+10

Peter Welch–VT/D+28

Running for Governor

Charlie Crist–FL/R+1

Tom Suozzi–NY/D+4

Running for Other Office

Karen Bass–CA/D+72 Running for mayor of Los Angeles.

Anthony Brown–MD/D+62 Running for State Attorney General

When you look at this group, there are two major categories. First, there are members who are facing a bruising election in what will probably be a GOP year. They are bailing out, or they are running for another office. Conor Lamb, for instance, saw his D+2 seat become R+10. I don’t know his chances of winning Pennsylvania’s senate seat, but they are better than the odds of him being reelected. Arizona’s Ann Kirkpatrick was elected from a district that was D+2; her new district is R+7.

The second group is Democrats in very safe seats. Some of them are sort of expected. DeFazio is around 75 years old and has served 18 terms. He should retire. But the rest of the group shows that they have been in the minority and don’t want to do that again. That’s why Val Demings is giving up a House seat that she could own for the rest of her life to get her ass handed to her next year. She could, conceivably, win. But losing and moving on to a cushy and well-remunerated seat on a corporate board beats the hell out of being a non-entity in the House of Representatives.

Things are rarely easy during the off-year elections for the party that holds the White House. When the president’s approval rating is in the low 40s, something that Joey SoftServe will be aspiring to achieve by next summer, losses of 40-60 seats are the rule rather than the exception. When you combine skyrocketing gasoline prices, inflation pushing into double digits, shortages of food and staple items, a brutal redistricting process, an electorate that believes everything is going in the wrong direction, and a governing philosophy that is much more fixated on imposing Critical Race Theory than the welfare of Americans with an obviously stupid and incompetent president, it doesn’t take a genius to see how this movie is going to end.

The fact that candidates have already started blaming the DNC campaign apparatus for losses that haven’t yet occurred is a sure sign of flop sweat setting in (Report: Dems Panicking That Campaign Arm Is Hurting Rather Than Helping Their Chances).

The smart ones are jumping ship. The dumb and desperate are remaining.