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Democrats hit 30-year high for House retirements


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The Hill

The number of House Democrats not seeking reelection this year has hit a 30-year high — a bleak benchmark reflecting frustrations with the gridlock on Capitol Hill, the toxicity of relations between the parties and the challenges facing Democrats as they fight to keep their slim majority in the lower chamber. 

Rep. Kathleen Rice’s (D-N.Y.) announcement this week that she won’t run again made her the 30th House Democrat to call it quits. That’s the most for the party since 1992, when 41 House Democrats decided to retire even as voters were sending their presidential nominee, Bill Clinton, to the White House. 

It marks just the third time since 1978 that either party has seen at least 30 retirements in a single cycle, according to figures tallied by the non-partisan Brookings Institution. The last instance was just four years ago, in the 2018 midterms, when 34 House Republicans made for the exits. It was a grim sign of things to come: The GOP went on to lose 41 seats — and the House majority — in a Democratic wave widely viewed as a referendum on then-President Trump.  


This year, it’s President Biden’s Democrats who face the difficult terrain. Between Biden’s sagging approval ratings, a stalled policy agenda in Congress, nationwide redistricting, and the historical trend that the incumbent president’s party tends to lose seats in midterm elections, the odds of winning the House are increasingly in the Republicans’ favor. :snip:

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