Former member of the House Republican leadership Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) has announced that she is retiring after 10 terms in the House. Her district in eastern Washington, WA-05, is R+8 and she has typically won it with 60% of the vote. She is only 54, so she could serve for another 20-30 years if she wanted to, but apparently she doesn't. Rodgers has never been involved in a scandal and does not appear to be interested in seeking higher office. She didn't explain why she is retiring.
The congresswoman has a 14-year-old son with Down syndrome, so she might legitimately want to have more time for him. On the other hand, in Congress, she has been a strong voice and advocate for the disabled and has gotten important legislation that helps disabled people passed and signed into law. With Rodgers leaving, it is not clear if anyone else will take over that role.
Yesterday, another House Republican said he will not run for reelection. It is Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI). He is only 39 and has served four terms in the House. His district, WI-08, is R+10. He could have served another 40 years. What happened?
We are not sure, but Gallagher was one of three Republicans who voted against the impeachment of DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. We suspect he was informed before the vote that opposition to the impeachment would mean a career-ending primary challenge. He did what he thought was right and no doubt Mike Johnson got to work finding a primary challenger, so Gallagher threw in the towel while he is young enough to start a career in the private sector. Republicans brook no dissent. None.
As you can see from our retirements page (which is in the menu to the left of the map above), 23 Democrats and 18 Republicans have announced their retirements so far. However, from the Democrats' perspective, the situation is far worse than these numbers reveal. Every one of the retiring Republicans is in a district R+8 or redder. In fact, 16 of the 18 are in districts R+10 or redder and 11 of them are in districts at least R+15. This means that Republicans are likely to hold all 18 open seats. There is not a single competitive district in the lot of them. In contrast only 9 of the 23 open Democratic districts are D+10 or bluer. That means as many as 14 open Democratic seats could be at risk. The consequence is that Democrats will be playing defense in almost half their open seats and offense in none of the open Republican seats. They could lose half a dozen or more open seats and have no pickup opportunities here. We don't understand why Republicans who couldn't possibly be defeated are quitting in droves while vulnerable Democrats are doing the same. Are Democrats sniffing something foul in the air? (V)