What churn there will be in the upcoming elections for the House of Representatives continues to break for the Republican Party, as the fourth Democrat in recent weeks announced plans to retire. The latest to head for the exits is Bart Gordon (D-TN), and yes, he represents a competitive district.
Gordon follows fellow Tennessee delegation member John Tanner (D-TN), along with Dennis Moore (D-KS), and Brian Baird (D-WA).
All four Democrats are in competitive districts; the two Tennessee districts went for John McCain (R) in the 2008 presidential election, and Barack Obama (D) won the other two by narrow margins.
According to a Washington Post report, in all 11 Democrats are leaving their House seats to retire or seek other elective positions, and seven are in competitive districts. Meanwhile, 12 Republicans are exiting, but only four are leaving seats in competitive districts.
RBR-TVBR observation: House retirements are good news for the opposition party, which will not have to face a candidate with the advantages of incumbency – that’s above and beyond the fact that many retirement decisions are based on unpleasant political realities being faced by the incumbent.
But they do not necessarily change much for broadcasters. Make no mistake – these are good districts in which to be operating, in terms of having a good political advertising season.
The party losing an incumbent will likely be forced to put forth a candidate with less fund-raising ability, but both parties will have added motivation to throw more national cash into the district.
Bottom line: These districts were going to be battlegrounds with or without incumbents, so from an advertising perspective, little has changed.