Republican House leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy believes there will be more retirements among Democrats leading up to the midterm elections in 2022, as they grapple with the likely possibility of losing their majorities in the next term.
“Once you get past Thanksgiving and members go home, and they’re Democrats and they’ve been challenged before and they’re going to get beat up, Congress is not that great,” the California Republican told Fox News.
McCarthy’s prediction comes as two long-serving Democrats in the House, Reps. David Price (D-NC) and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), announced their decisions not to run for re-election in the next cycle.
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) last week also announced his plan to retire at the end of his current term.
Democrats, who have a slight edge over Republicans in the House, 220-212, will compete to retain their hold on the chamber in the 2022 midterm elections. Democrats also hold control over the White House and Senate, though that relies on two independents who caucused with Democrats and Vice President Kamala Harris siding with her party in a tie-breaker.
A total of seven House Democrats have announced plans not to run again in 2022, with five others seeking other offices.
Price, 81, was first elected in 1986 and serves as chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee and the House Democracy Partnership.
One senior GOP staffer called Price’s seat “an influential post,” adding that “it’s hard not to say that that doesn’t look like some writing on the wall.”
In August, McCarthy noted the redistricting process that has come out of the latest census could also lead to more retirements, as it is expected to favor Republicans.
“They’ve got new lines where they have to go meet new people and they’re still going to have the White House,” he told Fox News. “They’re going to make a decision to retire, that’s the best time so they can go get another job. When we get that retirement number up higher, into double-digit figures, the whole thing becomes a different play.”
That same month, Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) announced his retirement from his very competitive district.
McCarthy has since pointed to that moment as “the bellwether.”
“When you sit back and you look and you want to pinpoint when was the bellwether, when was the moment in time that you truly felt that you knew that the majority was in play and you had the capability of winning — when Ron Kind said that he was retiring,” he said.
Amid the Democratic retirements, there are nine House Republicans who are not seeking another term in 2022. In order for the GOP to retake the House, the party must get a net gain of five seats.