Rep. Corrinne Brown’s announcement that she will not run for Senate in Florida and potential retirees’ heavy fundraising continues to reduce the number of congressmen who might not run for re-election next year. Only 4 representatives remain on my list of those who should be watched closely - and while we will probably still get a few surprises, it seems more than likely we will have less open seats in the 2010 than we have recently: There were 32 and 31 retirements in 2006 and in 2008, and there are for now only 19 in the current cycle.
Those numbers do not include special elections, however, and another one just popped up on our radar screen this week: Rep. Robert Wexler unexpectedly announced he would resign to become the president of the Center for Middle East Peace & Economic Cooperation. Democrats are sure to hold on to FL-19, but the primary will be ideologically important: Wexler is a vocal member of the Progressive Caucus and liberals will want to keep their strength intact. (An important note: Wexler will resign in January, so House liberals will not lose a vote in the health care debate.)
The week’s most important statewide developments were Brown’s decision not to challenge Kendrick Meek for Florida’s Democratic nomination; Ryan Frazier’s dropping out of the Colorado Senate race to run for the House, a move that makes the GOP primary a showdown between Ken Buck and the establishment-backed Jane Norton; and Christie Vilsack stating her interest in challenging Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.
Kansas Democrats lost one of their last remaining hopes to make either of the state’s open races somewhat interesting when party chairman Larry Gates became the latest to rule out a gubernatorial or Senate bid. The party’s utter failure to have built any type of bench despite Kathleen Sebelius’s 7 years as governor is truly stunning.
In Texas, state Senator Eliot Shapleigh opened the door to a gubernatorial run. Many Democrats are unsatisfied with their current field, headlined by Kinky Friedman and former Ambassador Tom Schieffer, a prominent Bush supporter; yet, it remains for now difficult to envision the winner of the Hutchison-Perry primary not winning the general election.
Indiana’s Senate race is another contest in which the challenging party’s prospects are low (most probably lower than in Texas). Some Republicans thought former state Rep. Dan Dumezich could at least make Evan Bayh work for his re-election; Dumezich just ruled out a bid, but Bayh still has to deal with state Sen. Marlin Stutzman.
As always, I list all the changes I have logged in during the week to the “retirement watch” and recruitment pages. Written in red are those politicians who announced their definite plans rather than simply expressed interest or stroke speculation. First, updates to Retirement Watch:
|Will retire||Rep. Robert Wexler (FL-19)|
|Moved from those to watch closely to plausible retirees||Rep. Pat Tiberi (OH-12)|
|Will not retire||Rep. Corrine Brown (FL-03)|
Second, updates to the Senate recruitment page:
|CO-Sen, GOP||councilman Ryan Frazier dropped out|
|FL-Sen, Dem||Rep. Corrine Brown ruled out run|
|IA-Sen, Dem||attorney Roxanne Conlin added to list
Christie Vilsack added to list
|IN-Sen, GOP||attorney, former state Rep. Dan Dumezich ruled out run|
Third, updates to gubernatorial recruitment:
|KS-Gov, Dem||party chairman Larry Gates will not run
former Lt. Gov. John Moore added to list
Herbert West is running
|TX-Gov, Dem||state Senator Eliot Shapleigh added to list