Just before Christmas CNN published a story about nervous Democrats who were worried the wave of retirements hadn’t crested yet. “When you’ve only got a three- or four-vote majority and you see people who are in tough districts announcing that they’re not running for reelection, yeah, everybody worries about what’s ahead,” the former chair of the DCCC said. At the time, 23 Democrats had decided not to seek reelection.
In the first week of January two more Democrats, Reps. Brenda Lawrence and Bobby Rush both announced they would not be running again. Yesterday, another Democrat called it quits, bringing the total number of Democratic House members leaving office (including those running for other offices) to 26.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (Colo.) announced Monday that he will not seek reelection to Congress, joining more than two dozen other Democrats who have announced that they will be leaving the House ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
In a statement, Perlmutter, 68, said it was time for him to explore other opportunities, but did not specify what those would be…
His district was redrawn once for the 2012 election and will be different again this year after redistricting in Colorado. Under the state’s newly redrawn maps, Perlmutter was the only incumbent moved to a less favorable seat, shifted from one that Biden won by 22 points to a district Biden would have won by 14 points, according to a Washington Post analysis of 2020 election results.
Here’s Rep. Perlmutter’s full statement:
After much thought and consideration, I have decided not to run for reelection. It’s been a privilege and honor of a lifetime to serve Colorado, the state I love and have always called home. pic.twitter.com/42vwPpN3cQ
— Ed Perlmutter (@Ed4Colorado) January 10, 2022
Despite the tougher map, Rep. Perlmutter expressed confidence that a Democrat would win his seat. But Republicans were quick to suggest Perlmutter was leaving because he knows Democrats are going to lose power in the coming election.
“Ed Perlmutter knows House Democrats won’t be in the majority after the midterm elections. He made the smart decision to retire rather than lose reelection,” NRCC Spokeswoman Courtney Parella said in a written statement.
Colorado GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown said in a written statement that “Perlmutter knew that he was going to lose in 2022, so instead he made the decision to retire.”
“In 2022,” she wrote, “Colorado Republicans will win CD7.”
We’ll have to wait and see about that. The Colorado Sun says this new district is still D+7 so Democrats still have a big advantage. Democratic state senator Brittany Pettersen has already expressed interest in replacing Perlmutter.
“Getting good people elected to office is more urgent than ever,” said the state senator from Lakewood, who served in the state House as well. “When I see threats to the very fabric of our democracy, the stakes couldn’t be higher.”https://t.co/OJzN0Ni4ge#copolitics
— Brittany Pettersen (@pettersen4co) January 11, 2022
There are several Republicans who have announced plans to run against Pettersen including Laurel Imer.
Watch Laurel's interview with Meghan Lopez about her campaign for CD7 tonight on Denver 7 and Scripps national affiliates at 5:00 PM.@DenverChannel pic.twitter.com/WQZWPOm6dl
— Laurel Imer (@ImerForColorado) January 11, 2022
Erik Aadland is also running for the seat.
A statement regarding Brittany Pettersen's announcement to enter the CD07 race: #COPolitics pic.twitter.com/NZRUiktJrQ
— Erik Aadland (@AadlandforCO) January 11, 2022
But the big picture here is that Democrats continue to abandon ship in advance of what is shaping up to be a tough year for them in the House. How many more will decide to leave before the month of January is over?