We reported yesterday that Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) is the latest House Republican incumbent to announce his retirement, but it's also worth keeping in mind that the GOP's exodus leaves the party in a very tough spot this year.
A swelling exodus of senior Republican incumbents from the House, worsened by a persistent disadvantage in campaign money, threatens to cripple Republican efforts to topple the Democratic majority in November.
Representative Tom Davis, a moderate from Northern Virginia, on Wednesday became the fifth House Republican in the last week to announce that he would not seek re-election.
That puts the roster of retirees at 28, one of the highest numbers recorded for the party in the House.
With only five Democratic seats opening so far, party strategists and independent analysts say the disparity in open seats — typically the most competitive House fights, as voters oust relatively few incumbents — makes it highly unlikely that Republicans could seize the seats necessary to regain the House. The current House has 199 Republicans and 232 Democrats, with four vacancies to be filled by special elections.
“The open-seat situation is so lopsided as to deny Republicans any chance of taking back the House in 2008,” said David Wasserman, who analyzes House races for The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan publication.
It couldn’t have happened to a more appropriate group of people.