As more House Republicans decide to retire from Congress ahead of a contentious election, their open seats likely won’t pose a risk to the GOP’s control of the lower chamber in November.
Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina announced that he would not seek another term on Wednesday, following the recent retirement decisions from Indiana’s Greg Pence and Larry Bucshon, Colorado’s Doug Lamborn, and Missouri’s Blaine Luetkemeyer.
These retirements and others likely won’t interfere with the party’s chances at retaining its majority in the election, as all of the departing GOP members hold seats that are in safe Republican districts for 2024, according to The Cook Political Report’s ratings.
“We are grateful for Congressman Jeff Duncan’s years of service to South Carolina and to the American people,” Delanie Bomar, spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “Republicans will hold this seat in 2024.”
Along with Duncan, Pence, Bucshon, Lamborn and Luetkemeyer, the other GOP members who have announced they will not seek another term hold seats characterized as “Solid Republican” by The Cook Political Report.
These Republicans include Alex Mooney of West Virginia, Jim Banks of Indiana, Victoria Spartz of Indiana, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Debbie Lesko of Arizona, Kay Granger of Texas, Michael Burgess of Texas, Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, Drew Ferguson of Georgia, John Curtis of Utah and Ken Buck of Colorado.
A spokesman for the NRCC, the House GOP’s campaign arm, noted that all Republican retirements are in seats that are reliably Republican and that “we are going to grow the House majority in November.”
Conversely, retiring Democrats leave behind much more competitive races, according to The Cook Political Report’s ratings.
While there are currently 12 party members who are not seeking another term that are in the “Solid Democrat” column, nine others have scores spanning from “Solid R” to “Lean D” to “Likely D.”
North Carolina Reps. Kathy Manning, Wiley Nickel and Jeff Jackson, who all opted against another term due to the state’s new Republican-drawn maps, have “Solid R” scores. Michigan Reps. Elissa Slotkin and Dan Kildee’s seats are in the “Toss Up” category.
Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger and California Rep. Katie Porter hold seats in the “Lean D” column, and three Democrats have “Likely D” ratings — David Trone of Maryland, Jennifer Wexton of Virginia and Andy Kim of New Jersey. Kim is leaving the House to run for embattled New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez’s Senate seat.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the House Democrats’ campaign arm, took aim at Republicans for retiring while they hold a majority upon request for comment regarding their competitive open seats.
“As the reason for the least productive Congress since the Great Depression, it says a lot that when House Republicans run for the retirement exits, they’re trashing their own party on the way out,” Viet Shelton, spokesperson for the DCCC, told the DCNF in a statement. “It’s against this backdrop of dysfunction and Republican infighting that the public will be voting and why, in races to fill competitive open seats, we’re confident voters will choose Democrats’ responsible governance over the extreme MAGA acolytes that Republicans are nominating across the battleground.”
The NRCC spokesman believes the swing-district seats vacated by Spanberger, Kildee, Porter and Slotkin could flip in November.
Additionally, Ohio GOP Rep. Bill Johnson, who’s seat has the same rating as his fellow retiring Republicans, is departing from Congress at the end of the month to take a job as the president of Youngstown State University. Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who resigned in late December, left a California seat that is also considered to be “Solid Republican” by The Cook Political Report.
New York’s 3rd Congressional District is also vacant after Republican George Santos was expelled from the House in early December over allegations of fraud. GOP Nassau County legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip and former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi will compete in the Feb. 13 special election for the seat, which The Cook Political Report characterizes as a “Toss Up.”