House Democrats Plan Retirement or Run for Statewide Office Amid Redistricting Worries

'It’s really hard for people to know how to plan...'

Some House Democrats seem resigned to losing their seats in the 2022 midterm elections as the redistricting that occurs after the decennial census could make their districts more favorable to Republicans, Politico reported.

Although they do not yet know how the new districts will be designed, Democratic representatives in Republican-controlled states like Arizona, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are considering runs for statewide offices as their prospects dim in the House.

Democrats control the House of Representatives by a mere five-seat majority.

Six vulnerable Democrats have already proposed running for Senate or governor.

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Two more, Reps. Filemón Vela, Texas, and Ann Kirkpatrick, Ariz., have announced their retirements in anticipation that their seats will become too difficult to win.

President Joe Biden‘s administration has delayed the census, so the information needed for states to begin the redistricting process will not be available on March 31.

This means that Democrats in swing districts cannot begin crafting plans for their political futures.

“The most frustrating thing is everything is so delayed. It’s really hard for people to know how to plan,” said Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., who’s familiar with swing-district Democrats.

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Reps. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., and Tim Ryan, D-Ohio — often considered moderate Democrats — could see their districts drift into Republican-leaning territory.

Lamb beat Republican Sean Parnell in the 17th Congressional District, which includes western Pennsylvania, by less than 10,000 votes or 2.2 percent. Ryan won Ohio’s 13th Congressional District by more than 7 percent.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., does not want to lose any incumbent Democrats because they have the best chances of retaining districts that become friendlier to Republicans.

Lamb said the Republican state legislature, which control redistricting, could eliminate his seat or make it much more difficult to obtain.

“Of course there’s a chance. I mean, we’re losing a seat overall,” he said in reference to Pennsylvania’s likely reduction from 18 representatives to 17 due to relative population decline. “The Republicans clearly have a special place in their heart for me. So, you know, if they have some say about where it would happen, I’m sure it would affect me.”

Lamb called on the state legislature to ensure competitive districts: “I believe very strongly that we should have fair districts that any Democrat should be able to compete in.”

Lamb has also increased his fundraising operations and hired additional consultants, which indicate a run for Senate.

Ryan, who aimed for the White House in 2020, will likely abandon his House seat and try to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

In an interview with Politico, Ryan said his district could lose Summit County, which includes urban Akron, and gain rural areas that President Donald Trump won in 2020.

“I may not be able to get that piece of Summit [County], and any other direction you go in is pretty red. It could be harder,” he said.

Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., could run for Senate in 2022 against Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Her suburban Orlando district could become more favorable for Republicans after redistricting.

But Murphy said the difficulty of retaining her seat will not affect her decision to run for Senate.

“I’m not worried about it. When you do your job well, the rest will take care of itself,” she said. “You don’t run for the Senate because you’re worried about that. That’s just not a factor.”

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