Senate Repub Retirements Outnumber Dems’ 3 To 1

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Democrats, Media, Memes, Republicans

Chris Dodd Byron Dorgan Bill Ritter

As the title suggest, the retirements of Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) are far outweighed by the 6 Republican Senators who aren’t seeking reelection.

And yet the media is crowing about the Dems? Why? Because it makes for a better story?

Steve Benen provides some additional perspective about the House and Governor races…

In the House, 14 GOP incumbents have decided not to seek re-election, while 10 Democratic incumbents have made the same announcement. Does this mean Republicans are “dropping like flies”? [...]

Among governors, several incumbents in both parties are term-limited and prevented from running again, but only three Democrats who can seek re-election — Parkinson in Kansas, Doyle in Wisconsin, and Ritter in Colorado — have chosen not to. For Republicans, the number is four — Douglas in Vermont, Rell in Connecticut, Crist in Florida, and Pawlenty in Minnesota. (Update: the GOP number is five if we include Palin in Alaska.)

So let’s add that all up…

Republicans: 6 Senate + 14 House + 5 Governors = 25
Democrats: 2 Senate + 10 House + 3 Governors = 15

I’m with Benen here…why is the media characterizing this as “Democrats Dropping Like Flies?”

Chris Cillizza adds some more insight about the House races and how it looks pretty much like a wash when you see how the districts voted for POTUS in 2008. I’ve added some additional notes estimating which is Solid, Probable and Tossups (leaning R & D), as well as totals for each AND a grand total. Then a bit more analysis after all of it that really drives home how silly this story is…

Republican Open Seats (14)
Delaware’s at-large (Obama 62 percent) – Solid D
California’s 19th (McCain 52 percent) – Tossup R
Florida’s 12th (McCain 50 percent) – Tossup R
Georgia’s 9th (McCain 75 percent) – Solid R
Illinois’ 10th (Obama 61 percent) – Solid D
Kansas’ 1st (McCain 69 percent) – Solid R
Kansas’ 4th (McCain 58 percent) – Probable R
Michigan’s 2nd (McCain 51 percent) – Tossup R
Missouri’s 7th (McCain 63 percent) – Solid R
Oklahoma’s 5th (McCain 59 percent) – Probable R
Pennsylvania’s 6th (Obama 58 percent) – Probable D
South Carolina’s 1st (McCain 56 percent) – Probable R
South Carolina’s 3rd (McCain 64 percent) – Solid R
Tennessee’s 3rd (McCain 62 percent) – Solid R
Total: R = 8, D = 3, T-R = 3

Democratic Open Seats (10)
Alabama’s 7th (Obama 74 percent) – Solid D
Florida’s 17th (Obama 87 percent) – Solid D
Hawaii’s 1st (Obama 70 percent) – Solid D
Kansas’ 3rd (Obama 51 percent) – Tossup D
Louisiana’s 3rd (McCain 61 percent) – Solid R
New Hampshire’s 2nd (Obama 56 percent) – Probable D
Pennsylvania’s 7th (Obama 56 percent) – Probable D
Tennessee’s 6th (McCain 62 percent) – Solid R
Tennessee’s 8th (McCain 56 percent) – Probable R
Washington’s 3rd (Obama 53 percent) – Tossup D
Total: D = 5, R = 3, T-D = 2

Grand Total: R = 11, D = 8, T-R = 3, T-D = 2

So, we started out with 14 Republicans retiring and 10 Democrats retiring and we end up with a likely scenario of……………14 Republicans and 10 Democrats being elected.

Yes, that’s right, the balance of power is likely to stay exactly the same. Sure, there could be some surprises between now and then, but this new meme by the media that Democrats are in trouble just doesn’t carry any weight.

Of course, this could ultimately help the Dems. Because if the public swallows this nonsense and the Republicans barely move the needle…isn’t that a win for the Dems?


This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 and is filed under Democrats, Media, Memes, Republicans. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “Senate Repub Retirements Outnumber Dems’ 3 To 1”

  1. mw Says:

    “…isn’t that a win for the Dems?” – jg

    No it’s not.

    How about this for an idea? We just stick with conventional English language definitions of “win” and “lose” this election? We’ll even say a tie goes to the Dems.

    It is a win for Democrats if they don’t lose any net seats.

    It is a win for Republicans if they pick up net seats.

    As far as today’s news, it looks like a wash to me. Dodd would have lost a Dem seat had he stayed in. Now it will probably stay Dem. Dorgan would have kept his Dem seat if he stayed in, now it will probably go Republican.

    I see nothing that changes my prior 2010 predictions.

    3 seat GOP pickup in the Senate. 15+ seat pickup in the House.

    Win for the GOP.

  2. Doomed Says:

    Praise the lord. Now if we can just get every other Republican and Democrat up for reelection to retire…..all would be good with the world.

  3. Nick Benjamin Says:

    @Justin
    The news is the Dem retirements because they are new. IMO the media is making too much of this — Dorgan is big news and bad for us, but Dodd’s retirement is good for us. Net they’re probably bad because while both guys were running we had a shot at both seats. Now ND is iffy.

    But I’ll agree that the media is yet again focusing more on process then substance. Those GOP retirements left a lot of open seats in swing states, such as Ohio, and apparently our candidates are doing pretty well in polls there right now despite the headwind against Democrats.

    @mw
    In conventional English it’s only a win if you get more seats. When talking about Congress the convention is who gained seats,but Congress is kinda weird that way.

  4. Frank Hagan Says:

    If the Dems drop below their 58 Senators +2 liberal independents who can be expected to vote with them most of the time, it’s a win for the GOP. It eliminates the filibuster-proof majority they hold now.

    The House passed their health care bill by one vote, even with their large majority. Part of that was because there were probably 10 Dems “allowed” to vote no by the Speaker so they have a chance at re-election. Even if the GOP picks up only 5 House seats, and 2 Senate seats, it spells the end to one party legislative rule and a return to a more normal situation.

    Its very common for a party to lose members when they lose the majority. It is less common for a party to lose members when they just won a huge majority in a landslide election considered the repudiation of the other party. If the voters punish the Dems in November, we will know that Pelosi, Reid and Obama squandered a comfortable majority that some pundits said would last a generation by over-reaching. I think that is what is happening, but we won’t know until November, and that’s a long way away.

  5. Trescml Says:

    I don’t think that you can compare Dodd (who was going to get thumped) to Palin, Pawlenty and Crist (they are running or looking to run for another office).

    Although I think this story is being blow out of proportion, there is very little possibility of the Dems not losing seats in both chambers. How bad the carnage is will likely be driven by improvements in the economy.

  6. kranky kritter Says:

    Nick’s right. News is, umm, new. I remember stories about GOP attrition when those announcements were new. Now the dem attrition is news.

    Look guys, the scripts for the probable outcome of the mid-terms are going to be copied and pasted. It’s familiar ground. Any time a party approaches a veto-proof majority in the Senate, that’s generally the crest of the tide. When it coincides with the election of that same party’s President to a first term? Even more so.

    Let’s face it, the progressive wish-meme of conservatives slinking off into electoral irrelevancy is on death row. As November approaches and races firm up, we’ll have a good idea from polls of what the shift will be.

    Grading on a criterion-referenced scale, a gain for the GOP is a win for them. Some folks will want to grade on a norm referenced curve, measuring against whatever expectations were immediately prior to the election. IMO, the scoreboard on how many seats each party has is what matters.

    Nothing else substantive will happen in congress after healthcare, unless it’s another big spending bill. Though, if democrats are smart, they’ll bring forth a bill on Wall street regs to curb abuses so that it’s on Americans minds come fall. For democrats, it’s politically more advantageous to be arguing about this come fall than it is to have passed something.

    In the next congress, the gap between the parties will have almost certainly narrowed. If the next congress wants to do anything, they will have to figure out what common ground means.

  7. Nick Benjamin Says:

    @Frank

    If the Dems drop below their 58 Senators +2 liberal independents who can be expected to vote with them most of the time, it’s a win for the GOP. It eliminates the filibuster-proof majority they hold now.

    In the context of the US Congress you’re right.

    But that’s a very unusual standard. In Canada a party that went from a majority in Parliament to a plurality would be called a winner, which is the closest equivelent they have to losing a filibuster-proof majority. That’s all I’m saying.

    Its very common for a party to lose members when they lose the majority. It is less common for a party to lose members when they just won a huge majority in a landslide election considered the repudiation of the other party. If the voters punish the Dems in November, we will know that Pelosi, Reid and Obama squandered a comfortable majority that some pundits said would last a generation by over-reaching. I think that is what is happening, but we won’t know until November, and that’s a long way away.

    So you think the Dems are gonna lose the House? I’d disagree. Lose seats yes, but that’s pretty not unusual for the controlling party in an off-year. Happened in ’98.

    @Tremscl
    Off the top of my head Voinovich (OH) is retiring and Martinez (FL) retired before his term was up. And consulting Wikipedia I am reminded of Bunning (KY) was driven out of the Senate due to his own incompetence, that Gregg (NH) had to retire after that on-again-off-again Cabinet dance he did last January, and Brownbeck (KS) and Bond (MO) are also retiring.

    On the Democratic side there are two elected Senators who quit (Dodd and Dorgan), plus the three guys who were appointed to fill out the terms of Obama, Kennedy, and Biden. Note that if you count those three seats as Dem retirements you should probably count Martinez’ seat twice — his appointed replacement isn’t running for re-election either.

    IMO it’s pretty clear retirements are hurting the GOP a lot more then they are hurting the Dems, but the GOP retirements just aren’t new.

  8. mw Says:

    @Nick

    This is not Canada.

    We don’t have a parliamentary system.

    The entire government is not up for grabs every election.

    Except for that, you would be right.

  9. Frank Hagan Says:

    @Nick, The GOP would have to win something like 40 seats to take the House. I suppose that’s possible if unemployment is high and the economy is still stalled. But I would expect a less spectacular gain of about half that.

    If the Dems did lose the House it would be the end of Pelosi’s role as leader. Harmon might step into the role, but the Dems are unlikely to allow the people who led them into defeat to retain their leadership roles. Only the GOP is stupid enough to do that (why McConnell and Boehner are still leaders is beyond me).

    But any loss means a shift back toward the middle, and you’ll start to see more bi-partisan legislation. The administration, if they’re smart, will “do a Clinton” and move to the middle as well; we might even hear President Obama say “The era of big government is over.”

    Well, I can dream, can’t I?

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