Democratic strategists warned privately that a Coakley loss could open the floodgates for members who were wavering about their future political plans. Including Berry, there are now 12 Democratic members retiring with 14 Republicans calling it quits.

The next two weeks could well serve as a tipping point in the battle for House control. Today there appear to be too few open Democratic seats for Republican to win the 40 seats they need to take control. But, another handful of retirements in swing districts could imperil Democrats hold on the chamber.