A growing list of Democratic retirements will have no effect on the party's efforts to retake the House in November, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday.
While six Democrats — including three this week — have announced that this year will be their last on Capitol Hill, Pelosi said other factors like fundraising and recruitment are much more significant to the outcome of the 2014 midterm elections.
Twelve-term Rep. Jim Moran (Va.) on Wednesday became the latest Democrat to declare his exodus, the day after two-term Rep. Bill Owens (N.Y.) said he won't run again, opening up a competitive seat. On Monday, Rep. George Miller (Calif.), a 40-year veteran of Congress and one of Pelosi's closest allies, made a similar announcement.
Pelosi described those moves as "personal and family decisions" that will have no impact on the midterms.
"They are, generationally, in the same place, ready for another chapter in life," she said of Miller and Moran. "It's not about whether we win the House, it's about their family decisions."
The list of Democratic retirees also includes a pair of Blue Dog Democrats, Reps. Jim Matheson (Utah) and Mike McIntyre (N.C.), who open up seats in red districts where Republican pickups are all but certain. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (N.Y.) also announced her retirement last week.
Pelosi noted that the Republicans have 10 House members retiring and predicted that the Democrats "probably have better prospects in some of their districts than they do in ours."
"We've seriously outraised the Republicans," she said. "But more important than that is the caliber of candidates that we have running. They're spectacular.
"Democrats are optimistic about our prospects," Pelosi added, "And we've met all of our critical imperatives for where we need to be on a path to victory."
Republicans wasted no time pushing back, arguing that the Democrats' losses spell doom for the party in November.
“We know Nancy Pelosi doesn’t think we have a spending problem, but now she’s really in denial," Daniel Scarpinato, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Thursday in an email. "Losing two Democrat incumbents in two of the most Republican districts in the nation is the worst case scenario for Pelosi’s dreams of becoming Speaker of the House again.”
--This post was updated at 3:10 p.m.