Wednesday’s news that GOP Rep. Darrell Issa will not seek re-election comes as a slew of retirements throughout the Republican Party threaten its loosening grip on the House majority.
Another California GOP House member, Rep. Ed Royce, announced his retirement last week, putting two seats targeted by the Democrats in play in their efforts to end the GOP’s 24-seat House majority.
The number of Republican retirements now stands at 31, reminding older folks that it was because of a mass Democrat exodus in 1994 that the GOP won control of Congress for the first time in four decades.
“We’re actually going to have to be good on our game,” Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, the House Rules Committee chairman, noted. He should know: Sessions led the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House campaign arm, in 2010, when the GOP flipped 63 Democratic seats in President Barack Obama’s first midterm.
According to a report in the Washington Examiner, Republican leaders blame the retirements on internal House GOP rules that term-limit committee chairmanships to six years (three two-year terms.) Several retirees are set to lose their gavels next year, without any guarantee of a high-profile spot to land or future leadership role on another committee, including Royce (Issa lost his a couple of years ago.)
Of course, Democrats and the liberal media want Americans to think they now have the upper edge. (Never forget the 2016 election.)
“We have a term-limited system that the Democrats don’t have and so it results in some chairmen that, when their six years are up, they tend to leave, and that opens up some seats,” explained Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio, the NRCC chairman. “We clearly have to defy history, but I feel comfortable that we’re going to do it.”
About a half-dozen Republicans are abandoning obviously competitive seats; another half-dozen more are leaving to run for higher office. Others are simply calling it quits after years, or decades, in Washington.
Issa told reporters the political environment had nothing to do with his retirement, even though he barely won re-election in 2016. “It was time. I’m going to be 65 and happily looking forward to doing other things,” he said.