PANIC IN THE HOUSE: Longtime Dems Are Headed for the Exit

Whatever the public spin is, you can tell the party's true feel for things by how many of its incumbents, especially the longtimers with seniority, start heading for the exit. When the GOP expects to lose, the longtimers decide they want to spend more time with their family. And when Dems expect to lose, the longtimers also discover how much they miss their families wherever they're pretending to be from.

It isn't just about fear of losing primaries. The longtimers have seniority, powerful roles on committees, and the ability therefore to shape priorities. That's valuable stuff to various special interests. Losing that means they lose a lot of influence and it often makes sense for them to negotiate a departure on a high note.  

The Dem exit strategy is kicking into high gear in the House.

A pair of longtime House Democrats announced their retirements on Monday, the latest in a string of departures that has left some in the party anxiously bracing for more ahead of what could be a brutal midterm.

Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle and North Carolina Rep. David Price, who both spent decades in the House, said Monday they would not seek reelection, becoming the sixth and seventh Democrats to announce their retirements ahead of next November.

Senior Democrats downplayed the latest announcements, saying both Price and Doyle had been privately forecasting their retirement plans to close colleagues for several months. But the loss of the two longtime members — both deans of their respective state delegations — comes as the House Democratic Caucus faces the potential for significant turnover next year, including in its top leaders.

House Democrats have lost more than a half-dozen incumbents to retirements so far this cycle. That includes House Budget Chair John Yarmuth, who announced last week that he would not be seeking reelection, potentially clearing a path for his son to run for the seat.

Neither Yarmuth, Price nor Doyle are in clear peril of losing their seats in the coming redistricting. But the departure of such senior Democrats does not inspire confidence in the party’s midterm prospects. Price, for instance, oversees transportation and housing issues for the House Appropriations Committee.

There's good news and bad news here.

Republicans may pick up some seats, but it's also quite likely that lefties will move into the breach further radicalizing the party. Some of these seats aren't ideal for them, but you never know.

Either way though the Dems are getting panicked. 


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