Skip to comments.Retirements hit Dem aspirations for a House takeover in 2012
Posted on 11/29/2011 4:11:55 AM PST by Libloather
Retirements hit Dem aspirations for a House takeover in 2012
By Josh Lederman - 11/29/11 05:15 AM ET
Rep. Barney Franks (D-Mass.) announcement Monday that he wont seek reelection coming on the heels of Rep. Charles Gonzalezs (D-Texas) weekend announcement to the same effect threw another stumbling block in the way of Democrats as they struggle to take back control of the House.
Frank became the 17th Democratic member of the House to decide not to run for reelection next year, compared to just six on the Republican side. All six GOP members are departing to run for another office, while only eight of the 17 Democrats have their eyes focused upward.
The 15-term lawmaker cited a number of reasons behind his decision, not all of them related to the current political climate. He spoke of his dread of raising funds and his desire to return to academia, but also the redrawing of his district, which saw a number of conservative-leaning towns added to the swath of Massachusetts that Frank would represent.
In 2008, 63 percent of voters in the district chose President Obama; under the redrawn boundaries, 61 percent would have supported Obama.
This decision was precipitated by congressional redistricting, not entirely caused by it, Frank said. There are other things Id like to do in my life before my career is over.
Democrats were initially apprehensive that the once-per-decade redistricting process would prove catastrophic for the party, because Republicans controlled the map-drawing process in so many states.
But while the process is far from complete in many states, results thus far indicate redistricting will amount to a wash for both parties.
Frank avoided any cynicism about Democrats chances for flipping the 26 seats they need to wrest back control of the House. He dismissed speculation that he was retiring because he thought it unlikely that he would get to return to his previous role as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, grousing about how laborious and unpleasant those tumultuous years were.
I think Id win, but what is relevant to me is I couldnt put the requisite effort into that, he said.
Anticipating the blowback it would receive following two high-profile retirements in less than a week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) released a memo Monday showing that a number of Democratic retirements are in left-leaning districts where the party is likely to retain control even without an incumbent.
Today, you have heard a lot of bluster from Republicans about Democratic retirements dont believe it, the memo said. The fact is that this cycle, there are fewer retirements than have historically retired.
That sentiment was echoed by DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.), who called Franks district a strong Democratic district and predicted a Democrat would remain in it next year.
But Republicans said the two recent retirements would likely not be the last and indicated that Democrats saw the writing on the wall ahead of a presidential-election year where Obamas low approval ratings are expected to drag down many down-ballot Democrats.
Members of Congress dont retire when things are good. They just dont, said Matt Mackowiak, a Republican strategist. I think theyre looking at it right now and saying, Its unlikely were gong to win the House back. If anything, its likely we wont have the Senate, and the White House is a 50-50 shot, at best.
Democrats also might be wringing their hands at the prospect of spending more than just a few years in the political backwoods, anticipating they might not be able to escape the minority until the economy recovers some years down the line, said Chris Perkins, a GOP pollster in Texas, where Gonzalez is retiring.
What it does is allow the Republicans to build a narrative, Perkins said. It makes the recruiting efforts for the DCCC that much harder, when potential candidates see a lot of senior members bailing.
But if voters are wary of putting Democrats in power, theyre even more hesitant to cede control to those associated with Washington gridlock regardless of their party affiliation. Democratic strategist Josh Nanberg said he is advising clients who dont have a lengthy political résumé that 2012 is the perfect opportunity to help their party regain control.
Ive been telling them, if youre someone who hasnt been a politician for 20 years, this is a great time to be running, Nanberg said, dismissing concerns that Democrats wouldnt want to wage a costly and divisive election battle only to find themselves powerless in the minority. I dont think thats a factor at all.
And Michael Fraioli, a Democratic pollster and former DCCC director, pointed out that while 2012 will be a challenging year for Democrats, it could be worse.
If you survived 2010, youre probably not thinking that 2012 is going to be tougher, he said.
A dem takeover of the house in 2012 is about as likely as a repeal of the law of gravity.
The Dems weren't going to win anything back or you wouldn't see any of them baling out. Rats don't leave the ship if it's not sinking.
Has anyone EVER seen a suck up member of the press complain about 'gridlock' when our side is pushing for gun rights? Or our side pushing for anything conservative? I'm soooooo sick of these biased puffed up jerks.
Bad idea. Real bad idea.
The rats are jumping ship cause the Titanic is about to go under.
Likely true. The difference, however, is that they'll have to fight for it a lot harder, which diverts resources away from other races.
Also, any democrat replacement would not inherit the seniority, or the committee memberships, that Frank has, so the effect of replacing Frank with another democrat would still be a net loss of power for the democrats.
Exactly. They also know that people are going to start getting dumped out of their insurance because of Obamacare.
Their districts will suffer as a consequence.
BWahahahahahaha ~ that's what you get for re-electing the same old fruit cake 16 times! Get a new fruitcake every now and then.
Anyone ever literally seen RATS jumping from a sinking ship?
I saw a big fat one yesterday.... =.=
GRRRRREAT news! Thanks for posting. DEPOPULATE socialists from Congress. DEFUND socialist collectives, foreign and domestic.
MA-04 has a Cook PVI of Dem +14. If a candidate like Scott Brown were to run, it’s possible the GOP could be competitive.
Sean Beilat lost to Frank by only 11 points in 2010 (54% to 43%). Up until the last week or two before the election, polls showed the race to be close with a fair number of undecideds, who must have broken for Frank.
It is great that these losers are leaving congress. However, shouldn’t their next stop be a cell in Leavenworth? Is there no justice?
apparently somebody is paying attention to Pat Caddell’s polling, even if it isn’t Obama.