Bearish Snowballing Elephants

28 comments January 31st, 2008at 08:07pm Posted by Eli

It just keeps getting worse and worse (or better and better, depending on your political orientation or powers of spin):

A swelling exodus of senior Republican incumbents from the House, worsened by a persistent disadvantage in campaign money, threatens to cripple Republican efforts to topple the Democratic majority in November.

Representative Tom Davis, a moderate from Northern Virginia, on Wednesday became the fifth House Republican in the last week to announce that he would not seek re-election.

That puts the roster of retirees at 28, one of the highest numbers recorded for the party in the House.

With only five Democratic seats opening so far, party strategists and independent analysts say the disparity in open seats – typically the most competitive House fights, as voters oust relatively few incumbents – makes it highly unlikely that Republicans could seize the seats necessary to regain the House. The current House has 199 Republicans and 232 Democrats, with four vacancies to be filled by special elections.

“The open-seat situation is so lopsided as to deny Republicans any chance of taking back the House in 2008,” said David Wasserman, who analyzes House races for The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan publication.

(…)

Mr. Davis said his return to life in the minority party was just one factor in deciding to leave, saying he wanted a sabbatical from politics to look into other opportunities. The congressman, who oversaw the House Republican campaign operation in 2000 and 2002, acknowledged that the landscape for his party was not promising.

“There isn’t any question it is going to be a tough year,” he said.

Four of the 28 Republicans who are so far leaving the House quit before their terms ended. They will be replaced in special elections before November, giving the winners of those races at least the technical mantle of incumbency in the general election.

That leaves 24 open Republican seats, though leaders of both parties expect at least a few more Republican retirements as state filing deadlines arrive. The high point for end-of-session Republican retirements is 27 in 1952, according to Congressional records.

(…)

“Clearly, it’s a sign that they see no prospect of Republicans regaining control of the House in the near future, and in fact the trend seems to be heading in the other direction,” said Representative Christopher Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

(…)

In the Senate, Republican retirements have also shifted the playing field, with six Republicans leaving and no Democrats retiring so far.

“We are still nine months away, and things just keep getting better,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The more Republicans retire from Congress, the more bleak the future looks for those who remain. The more bleak the future looks, the less likely they are to want to remain. I think this snowball is going to keep rolling, like a market crash where the selling feeds the panic that leads to more selling.

Best. Crash. Ever.

(h/t dakine)

Entry Filed under: Elections,Politics,Republicans

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