More retirements from the US House


Two more incumbents are exiting the US House of Representatives, one from each party. Both are facing ethical investigations (and both are brushing off the significance of them) and both have other very believable reasons for leaving. What is different about each instance is the likely effect on the balance of power in the body.

On the Republican side, Nathan Deal (R-GA) is exiting more or less immediately to focus on a run for governor of his state. He allegedly worked out a deal to keep a Georgia state program that benefits his own company alive, which he says is a matter of no concern. Deal’s early exit from the seat has been questioned, but the likelihood of it remaining in Republican hands eventually has not.

On the Democratic side is the retirement of Eric Massa (D-NY) after only one term. He just recently became the subject of an ethics investigation regarding interpersonal relations between himself and a staff member. While the precise nature of the complaint is unknown, Massa says it has nothing to do with his exit; nor does the fact that Republicans operatives have painted a big target on his seat. Rather, he has battled cancer in the past and concerns about a relapse have led to his decision to exit the House.

The difference is that he is in a district that McCain won, and that Democrats may not be able to hold.

RBR-TVBR observation: Observers have been predicting a banner political year for quite awhile. These predictions were coming before the stunning Scott Brown (R-MA) upset in the election for Ted Kennedy’s old seat. That event upped the stakes, and just about every event since then has thrown more fuel on the political spending fire.