2018 Midterms: Keeping Track of Republican House Retirements
Democrats have a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the midterm elections in November. One reason that has gotten a lot of attention is the large number of House Republicans who have decided not to seek re-election.
With Rodney Frelinghuysen’s announcement on Monday, 33 of them have announced they’ll retire at the end of this term — much more than would typically do so by this stage, according to data compiled by Daniel Donner of Daily Kos Elections.
All retirement announcements, 2006-18
Why is that important? Incumbents are simply tougher to topple. Over the last decade or so, they have run about seven percentage points ahead of non-incumbents from the same party in similar districts.
But the exodus of House Republicans hasn’t brightened Democrats’ prospects quite as much as the total number of retirements might suggest. A relatively high number of Republicans have retired in competitive districts (defined here as districts that lean less than 10 percentage points toward Republicans or Democrats in presidential elections). But that number is not very far out of the ordinary.
Democrats, who need a net gain of 24 seats to take control of the House, have many of their own vulnerable incumbents retiring.
In competitive districts only
Of course, historical precedent suggests there could be more such Republican departures: Primary filing deadlines are just around the corner, and vulnerable Republicans will soon need to decide whether to run again.
Retirements in the 2018 cycle
15 Democratic retirements
|House member||Announcement||2016 Pres. Vote|
|Ruben Kihuen Nev. 4||Dec. 16, 2017||+5 Clinton|
|John Conyers Jr. Mich. 13||Dec. 5, 2017||+61 Clinton|
|Sander M. Levin Mich. 9||Dec. 2, 2017||+8 Clinton|
|Luis V. Gutiérrez Ill. 4||Nov. 28, 2017||+69 Clinton|
|Gene Green Tex. 29||Nov. 13, 2017||+46 Clinton|
|Carol Shea-Porter N.H. 1||Oct. 6, 2017||+2 Trump|
|Kyrsten Sinema Ariz. 9||Sept. 29, 2017||+16 Clinton|
|Colleen Hanabusa Hawaii 1||Sept. 1, 2017||+33 Clinton|
|Niki Tsongas Mass. 3||Aug. 9, 2017||+23 Clinton|
|John Delaney Md. 6||July 28, 2017||+16 Clinton|
|Jacky Rosen Nev. 3||July 6, 2017||+1 Trump|
|Jared Polis Colo. 2||June 11, 2017||+21 Clinton|
|Beto O’Rourke Tex. 16||March 31, 2017||+41 Clinton|
|Tim Walz Minn. 1||March 27, 2017||+15 Trump|
|Michelle Lujan Grisham N.M. 1||Dec. 13, 2016||+16 Clinton|
33 Republican retirements
|House member||Announcement||2016 Pres. Vote|
|Rodney Frelinghuysen N.J. 11||Jan. 29, 2018||+1 Trump|
|Patrick Meehan Pa. 7||Jan. 25, 2018||+2 Clinton|
|Martha E. McSally Ariz. 2||Jan. 12, 2018||+5 Clinton|
|Darrell Issa Calif. 49||Jan. 10, 2018||+8 Clinton|
|Ed Royce Calif. 39||Jan. 8, 2018||+9 Clinton|
|Ron DeSantis Fla. 6||Jan. 5, 2018||+17 Trump|
|Gregg Harper Miss. 3||Jan. 4, 2018||+33 Trump|
|Bill Shuster Pa. 9||Jan. 2, 2018||+42 Trump|
|Blake Farenthold Tex. 27||Dec. 14, 2017||+24 Trump|
|Joe L. Barton Tex. 6||Nov. 30, 2017||+12 Trump|
|Robert W. Goodlatte Va. 6||Nov. 9, 2017||+25 Trump|
|Ted Poe Tex. 2||Nov. 7, 2017||+9 Trump|
|Frank A. LoBiondo N.J. 2||Nov. 7, 2017||+5 Trump|
|Lamar Smith Tex. 21||Nov. 2, 2017||+10 Trump|
|Jeb Hensarling Tex. 5||Oct. 31, 2017||+28 Trump|
|Marsha Blackburn Tenn. 7||Oct. 5, 2017||+39 Trump|
|Dave Trott Mich. 11||Sept. 11, 2017||+4 Trump|
|Charlie Dent Pa. 15||Sept. 7, 2017||+8 Trump|
|Dave Reichert Wash. 8||Sept. 6, 2017||+3 Clinton|
|Lou Barletta Pa. 11||Aug. 29, 2017||+24 Trump|
|Todd Rokita Ind. 4||Aug. 9, 2017||+34 Trump|
|Diane Black Tenn. 6||Aug. 2, 2017||+49 Trump|
|John J. Duncan Jr. Tenn. 2||July 31, 2017||+35 Trump|
|Luke Messer Ind. 6||July 26, 2017||+40 Trump|
|Steve Pearce N.M. 2||July 10, 2017||+10 Trump|
|Raúl R. Labrador Idaho 1||May 9, 2017||+38 Trump|
|Evan H. Jenkins W.Va. 3||May 8, 2017||+49 Trump|
|Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Fla. 27||April 30, 2017||+20 Clinton|
|James B. Renacci Ohio 16||March 20, 2017||+17 Trump|
|Lynn Jenkins Kans. 2||Jan. 25, 2017||+18 Trump|
|Sam Johnson Tex. 3||Jan. 6, 2017||+14 Trump|
|Kristi Noem S.D. 1||Nov. 14, 2016||+30 Trump|
|Jim Bridenstine Okla. 1||Nov. 9, 2016||+29 Trump|
The good news for Democrats is that several of the Republicans retiring from the most competitive districts were particularly strong incumbents. They are longtime, moderate incumbents with a history of running far ahead of the national party in their district. Many won re-election without any serious challenge, even when Barack Obama won their districts in 2008 or 2012.
In a strongly Democratic political environment like this one, Washington’s Dave Reichert and New Jersey’s Frank LoBiondo were arguably the two most valuable possible retirement for the Democrats. Democrats got both.
In a more competitive national environment, Florida’s Ileana Ros-Lehtinen might have been the most valuable retirement, and she is leaving, too. Pennsylvania’s Charlie Dent is another valuable retirement for Democrats. In some cases, the retirements have moved safely Republican districts all the way to tossups.
The retirement of Dave Trott in Michigan’s 11th is less useful to Democrats: He won by 13 points last time in a district that voted for Donald J. Trump. The seat was pretty competitive before, and it remains so now.
Mr. Frelinghuysen’s retirement in New Jersey is somewhere in the middle. He was vulnerable before his retirement, but most analysts still believed he had an edge after his comfortable re-election in 2016. The district is now a tossup, or even leans to the Democrats.
Some Democratic targets are more like long shots. But the party might be poised to take advantage of Republican retirements in Kansas’ Second District, where the former Democratic candidate for governor Paul Davis is running, and even in Texas’ 21st. That Texas district was the product of a Republican gerrymander of Austin, but it doesn’t look as strong as it did just a few years ago.
via The New York Times
January 29, 2018 at 04:23PMNo tags for this post.