Yesterday I wrote about the common thread between the first three House Democrats to call for Charlie Rangel’s resignation after the release of charges from the Ethics Committee. All three are hearing footsteps from Republican rivals, and all three need to distance themselves from Democratic leadership in the House. This morning, the count of the Footsteps Caucus has reached eight, including the first from Rangel’s home state of New York, and The Hill notices the same common thread:
The calls for Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) to resign are piling up as the congressman’s ethics trial threatens to loom large over campaign season.
The tally of House Democrats calling on Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) to resign his seat in Congress stood at eight as members adjourned for the August recess late Friday. That number includes Rep. Mike Arcuri (D-N.Y.), the first Democrat from Rangel’s home state to call for his ouster.
And so far, every House Democrat who has called for Rangel’s ouster faces a viable Republican challenger this fall.
Read my previous post for the rundowns on the electoral predicaments of Betty Sutton (D-OH), Patrick Murphy (D-PA), and Walt Minnick (D-ID). Let’s take a look at the five new members of the Footsteps Caucus:
- Michael Arcuri, NY-24 – Arcuri came into office in the 2006 Democratic sweep, and his district is rated an R+2. Republicans have a primary coming up in September to pick a challenger, but Arcuri is already sweating.
- Ann Kirkpatrick, AZ-1 – Kirkpatrick only holds this seat because of the ethics problems of her Republican predecessor, Rick Renzi. This is an R+6 district that’s already furious about federal inaction and obstruction on illegal immigration, and Kirkpatrick is desperate to distance herself from her party.
- Mary Jo Kilroy, OH-15 – Barely won her 2008 freshman election in this D+1 district despite Barack Obama being on the top of the ticket. She squares off against the man she edged out the first time, Steve Stivers, who thinks he can make up the 2400-vote gap in this environment.
- John Yarmuth, KY-3 – Another of the class of 2006, he ended a 10-year GOP grip on the seat in the D+2 district. He’s losing the fundraising war with Todd Lally, and his out-front defense of ObamaCare is not likely to help. Lally claims an internal poll in June put him into a tie with the incumbent, and an ethics trial is not likely to boost Yarmuth’s chances.
- Zack Space, OH-18 – Space is Ohio’s third member of the Footsteps Caucus, and that’s no accident. The state was key to Obama’s election, but has been moving back to Republicans in the aftermath of the radical agenda launched by Democrats. Space won this seat after disgust with former Rep. Bob Ney, one of the GOP Representatives to disgrace his office, taking it in the 2006 Democratic sweep. The district is R+7, though, and mainly represents small towns and rural areas. His opponent, Bob Gibbs, beat Space to the demand for Rangel’s resignation, quoting Space himself on corruption in doing so while noting Space’s silence on Democratic corruption.
So far, we have eight Democrats who need to save themselves a lot more than they need to save Rangel. I’d be surprised if that number doesn’t grow to 60 or 70 by the time the House resumes its session after Democrats face voters on the campaign trail in August.