Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Jim Moran becomes 3rd House Dem this week to retire

Publicly, House Democrats declare confidence in their chances to retake control of the lower chamber in the 2014 election cycle, even though presidents routinely lose significant numbers of seats in their second midterms. Their actions speak louder than their boasts, however. Jim Moran, a 12-term Congressman in a safe Democratic district and a close ally of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, called it quits — the third House Democrat to do so this week - Ed Morrissey/HotAir

Moran becomes the third House Democrat to retire just this week. George Miller (D-CA) also represents a similarly safe district, D+17 in Cook, and California is a much safer state for Democrats than Virginia. That’s still the loss of a 30-year veteran of the caucus and another Pelosi ally out the door, which makes the boasts about putting the gavel back in her hands look more and more like either cheap talk or false bravado.

The third, Bill Owens, only won NY-21 thanks to a special election and a split on the Right in the R+2 district. Our own Jazz Shaw worked in that special election fight, and while it’s not a slam-dunk for Republicans, it’s a clear pickup opportunity. If Owens is leaving, that says something about the prospects for Democrats in battleground districts.

This is, of course, retirement season for the House. Incumbents disinclined to campaign again will let their constituents know early enough to allow their party to find a strong candidate rather than wait until the last moment. So far, Republican retirements outstrip Democrats, but only by three, and Republicans don’t have to make up ground against Democrats anyway. Democrats need to retain their incumbents in this midterm election far more than the GOP does — and if high-seniority members in cushy districts are heading for the exits, that suggests that they’re seeing no point in sticking around for another few years of minority status.