An early sign of which way the political winds are blowing are congressional retirement announcements. Republicans had quite a few heading into 2008, but moving toward 2010, the Democrats have been hit with a pair.
The latest to bow out is John Tanner (D-TN), an 11-term Blue Dog Democrat. According to Politico, he is in a competitive district and has already been targeted by the National Republican Congressional Committee, and has already drawn a strong and well-funded opponent. Tanner says he was thinking about retiring prior to 2008, and now has decided to go through with retirement.
Tanner’s announcement follows that of Dennis Moore (D-KS), another Democrat on the NRCC hit list. Politico says Republicans have an excellent shot at picking up both seats, along with three others being vacated by representatives seeking Senate seats, including those of Charlie Melancon (D-LA), Joe Sestak (D-PA) and Paul Hodes (D-NH).
RBR-TVBR observation: It is way too early to call this a trend, but most of the early indicators point to Democrats playing defense and Republicans playing offense during the 2010 election season.