Schakowsky waves off significance of Gordon retirement

A member of the Democratic leadership on Monday brushed aside the notion that Rep. Bart Gordon's (D-Tenn.) retirement will benefit Republicans in 2010.

Chief Deputy Whip Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said that Democratic policies will create a strong economic environment favorable for Democratic victories in 2010. 

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"Democratic policies are going to absolutely improve the elecotral propsects in the election in 2010," she said on a conference call with reporters. "We're gonna see some improvements in the economy with the jobs numbers."

"I do not believe that [Gordon's retirement] is going to trans to large victories for Republicans in 2010," she added.

Gordon, a Blue Dog Democrat who is serving his thirteenth term, announced his retirement on Monday morning saying the time was right to step down after a lengthy career. Gordon joins Reps. Brian Baird, John Tanner (D-Tenn.) and Dennis Moore (D-Kan.) in announcing their retirement in recent weeks. 

Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) announced he would step down last week to pursue his state's governorship. Abercrombie's district, however, is solidly Democratic.

Republicans view the four retirees' seats as key pick-up opportunities in their bid to retake the House in the 2010 midterm elections.

But Schakowsky, who said Gordon's retirement was "news" to her, said that the four retirements were not out of "fear" of losing their seats. Instead, she said they chose to step down because they know "that we're in a good position right now in terms of the majority in the Congress."

All four were in "a very strong position for 2010," she added.

Schaowsky said that the Democratic retirements could be offset by Republicans who want to step down.

"I think we'll see some Republicans that are tired of being the minority," she said. "I think these [Democratic retirements are of no particular significance [for 2010]."

According to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, 12 Republicans have announced that they will step down to run for other offices. No House Republicans have announced their retirement recently.