(CNN) –– The representative from Florida, Stephanie Murphy announced Monday that she will not seek a fourth term in Congress. This is the latest in a wave of withdrawals rapidly spreading through the Democratic ranks. Suggesting that momentum is moving strongly against the party as it seeks to hold on to its slim majority next November.
Murphy’s decision came less than 24 hours after the representative Albio Sires of New Jersey said he would retire at the end of this term. And, just before the Sires news, California Rep. Alan Lowenthal announced that he would not seek re-election either.
In all, 22 Democrats are now retiring or running for other offices this election cycle. Compared to only 11 Republicans who do the same.
Two years ago, only nine Democrats had announced their retirement plans for this time leading up to the election, according to CNN’s political unit. Which contrasted with the 24 Republicans who did the same at the time.
There will always be some defection in a body as large as the House of Representatives. But the “who” is retiring should be a matter of concern to Democrats.
Let’s take Murphy. He is widely regarded as a rising star within the party. It was also expected that will run for Senate in 2022 until his co-religionist, Val Demings, entered the race against Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
Murphy’s seventh district has been targeted by Florida House Republicans in the state’s redistricting process. But it was not yet clear how the final seat would look. Without Murphy in the running, Republican cartographers will likely work to make the seat much friendlier to their side.
Losing a member like Murphy, a prodigious fundraiser and a talented activist, is always a blow. But, more so in an election like this, where the Democrats hold onto their majority.
The same is true of retirements from powerful positions like John Yarmuth (Budget Committee) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (Science, Space, and Technology Committee).
When these types of members retire – whether from powerful positions or promising careers – they send a very clear signal to every member of the Democratic group of legislators: things are bad, I do not see them improving and now is the time to do it .
And that message, of course, has a snow avalanche effect. Precisely, while other members are wondering whether to jump back into the electoral race, they see that their colleagues have come to the conclusion that now is the time to jump ship for themselves.
Point: Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives have worked desperately to prevent a rout outside their ranks. It seems they failed.
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Democrats’ Retirement Doors Open Wide (Analysis)