As at least 25 Republican members of the House plan to retire at their end of their terms this year, GOP leaders will face an uphill battle to retake the majority in November, according to political analysts.
Meanwhile, just nine Democrats are calling it quits, while one — Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey — switched over to the GOP last month.
“Members retire for many different reasons, but an overarching theme is this: It’s just not much fun to serve in the minority,” Kyle Kondik, managing editor for Sabato’s Crystal Ball, told the Washington Times.
As the Times noted further, each party has also had a member resign under ethics clouds.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, will leave after Congress returns from its Christmas break following a guilty plea to campaign finance charges.
Democratic Rep. Katie Hill, also of California, resigned amid a House ethics investigation into multiple allegations that she engaged in romantic relationships with staffers.
Hill’s charges were bolstered after the publication of nude photos of her smoking a bong and combing the hair of a 22-year-old female staffer.
The number of GOP retirements is approaching the number reached prior to the 2018 midterms, when 23 Republican House members retired and three senators left.
While some districts of retiring Republicans may be in play for Democrats, not all of them are in danger of turning blue, analysts noted.
In fact, most seats being vacated by Republicans are in safe districts, including House Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who announced recently that he will also leave.
“My seat will be a Republican,” Meadows told The Times. “And so I think reading anything into my decision, other than it was the time and the season for me to exit, would be misdirected.”
Republicans need to regain 19 seats in order to capture the majority.