As House Democratic retirements soar, McCarthy says 2022 election ‘becomes a different play’

FOX NEWS
Patrick Steinhauser
December 21, 2021

(Fox News) With the Christmas and New Year’s holiday break fast approaching, the announcements came quickly.

A trio of Democrats in the House of Representatives – Reps. Stephanie Murphy of Florida, Lucille Roybal-Allard of California, and Albio Sires of New Jersey – on Monday said that they’ll retire at the end of next year rather than seek another term in Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.

The latest news brings to 23 the number of House Democrats who are retiring or bidding for another office rather than run for reelection in 2022, when their party tries to defend its razor-thin majority in the House amid historically unfavorable headwinds and a rough political climate. The GOP needs a net gain of just five seats in the 435-member chamber next year to regain the House majority it lost to the Democrats in the 2018 midterms.

Republicans have history on their side – on average the party that wins the White House in a presidential election loses more than 25 House seats in the ensuing midterm election. And the once-in-a-decade congressional redistricting process is expected to favor the GOP, as Republicans control more state legislatures and governors’ offices.

This week’s major setback for President Biden and congressional Democrats in their push to pass a sweeping human infrastructure and climate change combating spending bill, along with the five-month downward spiral of the president’s poll numbers, are also doing House Democrats no favors as try to keep the majority next November.

But even before Biden’s approval ratings began to crater, House Republican leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy forecast the current wave of Democratic retirement announcements.

“Once you get past Thanksgiving and members go home, and they’re Democrats and they’ve been challenged before and they’re going to get beat up, Congress is not that great,” the longtime GOP lawmaker from California told Fox News during an interview in August.

Pointing to the redistricting process, McCarthy noted that House Democrat would have “new lines where they have to go meet new people.”

And looking ahead at the time to the Thanksgiving break and the Christmas through New Year’s holiday, McCarthy predicted that House Democrats are “going to make a decision to retire, that’s the best time so they can go get another job. When we get that retirement number up higher, into double-digit figures, the whole thing becomes a different play.”

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