So far, six Democrats have announced they will leave the House in 2022, most in transitional districts where the absence of an incumbent likely makes it more difficult for the party to take the seat. Rep. Conor Lamb from Pennsylvania will likely be added to that list, as he is expected to enter his state’s Senate race later this summer.
But party strategists say the figure is lower than expected, boosting morale among Democrats as they prepare for a midterm election that could dismantle their slim majority. And some members of the pivotal headquarters in Texas, Pennsylvania and Florida – many of whom were openly considering futures contracts outside the House – are now expected to stay put.
“I am really happy that they are staying here and fighting the good fight,” said Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) Of several members of the Pennsylvania House delegation who will seek re-election instead of themselves. fight for an open candidacy. seat of the Senate.
“I think the impression you give when everyone’s running away is that it’s a sinking ship. But I don’t think it’s a sinking ship, ”said Wild.
It’s still early days and there will almost certainly be another exodus of membership next year after a series of potentially painful redistributions for Democrats. Some seats in states like Florida and Texas could see purple districts made unachievable by Republicans drawing cards – which could prompt some members, even those who have already said they will run for re-election, to head sharply towards the exits. And both sides will be watching the political environment closely for indications of what voters want in 2022: Democratic control over Washington, or a greater distance from former President Donald Trump’s GOP.
But lawmakers and Democratic aides say their party has so far avoided the worst-case scenario, in which their more combat-experienced members get off the ship before slicing even begins.
And the crucial census data needed to draw new maps is being delayed, freezing recruitment in nearly every state. This makes retaining incumbents even more important, as they are armed with high ID, fully funded coffers, and campaign teams ready to go for a compressed election. Otherwise, the Congressional Democratic campaign committee is stuck scrambling to recruit when new cards finally come out – with little time to lure powerful contenders into swivel-seat races in the first half-term of a year. Democratic president.
“There is a normal amount of bike rides,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (DN.Y.), who heads the House Democrats’ campaign arm. “I think people are energized. … I think being able to show results and deliver for your district makes you more excited to be in Congress. They come back.
So far, three House Democrats have declared offers for a higher position: Reps Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) And Val Demings (D-Fla.). Lamb will likely become the fourth when he enters the Pennsylvania Senate race in the coming months.
Yet while the Democrats lose Lamb, they will retain both Dean and Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), Both of whom were openly considering getting into the Senate primary. Both hold relatively safe districts under current lines, but they might not do so once the GOP legislature and the Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania are done bickering over the new borders.
Democrats are also losing Demings and Crist to Florida, but they should keep Murphy, who has ruled out a Senate nomination and has started raising money for her House race, according to people close to her. It’s a huge boon to Democrats, who see her as a star rookie with a powerful biography – she fled Vietnam by boat as a baby and her family was rescued at sea by the U.S. Navy – and a solid donor pool.
Another Democrat, Representative Greg Stanton (D-Arizona), has also been nominated for a potential nomination for governor or attorney general of his home state. But the former Phoenix mayor recently told his colleagues he is not planning to show up statewide, according to a person familiar with the conversations. In Tucson, Democratic Representative Ann Kirkpatrick has already announced her retirement.
After Representative Filemón Vela (D-Texas) retired, Democrats feared Gonzalez would also start considering exits. Trump saw an increase in support in the rural areas of the Rio Grande Valley, and Gonzalez saw his once comfortable margins of victory turn into a victory of just 3 points.
“I actually think my neighbor’s retirement even simplifies my redistribution,” he said, noting that this lessens the competition for a winnable seat in the region.
The House GOP campaign arm seized on the fact that Gonzalez had recently paid off a $ 250,000 loan to himself as a sign of impending retirement. But in an interview with POLITICO, he said he still planned to repay the loan and intended to do so sooner. “I could have done it last year,” he said. “We didn’t spend a lot of money on our campaign, obviously.”
He said this was “absolutely not” a sign that he was considering retiring: “Actually, if I had to lend myself more money, I would.”
Another South Texas battlefield Democrat, Rep. Henry Cuellar, is also building his campaign team for another race, according to a person familiar with the plans.
Potentially open Senate seats in Iowa and Wisconsin could draw House Democrats into these races – but neither Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) Nor Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have decided on their plans.
In Iowa, Representative Cindy Axne wonders if she will run for another term in the House, bid for the Senate, or challenge GOP Governor Kim Reynolds. “It still weighs on these three electoral options,” said Ian Mariani, spokesman for Axne, in a statement.
But Capitol Hill Democrats said they would be surprised if she entered the race. And former Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) is expected to run for Grassley’s seat.
In southern Wisconsin, Representative Ron Kind said he has not decided whether he will run for the Senate against Johnson, but there is already a Democratic crowd. field in the race, and few believe he will follow that path.
“I have no reason to believe he will not run for Congress. When he and I talk, that’s what he plans, ”said Mark Pocan, another Democratic representative from Wisconsin. Another reason to stay: the redistribution might not hurt him. “I have to lose 49,000 people,” said Pocan, who represents deep blue Madison. “So he’ll probably get part of my district. “
“There are many easy scenarios where my district becomes healthier after redistribution,” Kind agreed.
“I still love the job,” Kind said, and he would likely face the same Republican opponent, whom he once beat once last November. But he does not rule out retiring either.
“It just got rude and so polarized,” he said. “And then, when two-thirds of your colleagues across the way, hours after the insurgency, come to vote to overturn the election result. What happens?”