It was a mostly foregone conclusion that Republicans would keep control of the House of Representatives even before the special election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Now that there’s talk of a wave election, in which Republicans could build upon their majority in the House and take control of the Senate, there may be more Democrats who decide to retire rather than face voters this fall.
“We’ve seen a number of senior House Democrats announce their retirements,” noted John King yesterday on CNN’s Inside Politics. “I’m told in the next week to 10 days look for two, perhaps three, more as Democrats decide we’re not going to win the majority back, might as well get out of Dodge.”
King didn’t offer any hints as to who these two or three House Democrats could be. The most senior House Democrat facing a tough reelection battle is Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), who, according to a recent Republican poll, is down by 14 points to his opponent, State Sen. Evan Jenkins (R-Cabell). But it may be that we’re talking about Democrats from relatively safe districts.
Either way, Democrats know that the field is stacked against them. The New York Times, for example, noted that President Barack Obama and Obamacare are toxic to House Democrats. That’s why DCCC Chairman Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) is saying that Democrats will run on local, district-based issues in the mid-term election.
The problem is for Democrats is voters can’t help but equate the party’s incumbents from President Obama. Party leaders in Congress have done little to separate themselves from the White House and its agenda, often doubling down on the policies that President Obama supports.
But the House isn’t the problem for Democrats. The Senate is the battlefield this year, and, as John King explained this morning, Democrats are “pressing the panic button over and over” because the electoral map is expanding for Republicans.