Pelosi rues loss of Dem talent

Pelosi rues loss of Dem talent
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The looming retirement of Maryland Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiClinton: White House slow-walking Russia sanctions Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns Gore wishes Mikulski a happy birthday at 'Inconvenient Sequel' premiere MORE (D) threatens to gut House Democrats of some of their top talent, House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Abortion-rights group endorses Nadler in race to replace Conyers on Judiciary Trump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting MORE (D-Calif.) lamented Tuesday. 

“I think you could probably say that Sen. Mikulski's decision not to seek reelection has caused a stunning change in our House Democratic Caucus, if everyone who says he or she is running decides to run,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. “I think that's the biggest hit in terms of the talent in the House.”

A senator since 1987, the 78-year-old Mikulski announced earlier in the month that she plans to retire at the end of 2016, when her fifth term expires. 

The move sparked a storm of interest from Maryland's House delegation, including Reps. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenSenate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank Republicans pursue two-week spending bill North Korea signals intent to 'complete' its nuclear force MORE, ranking member of the Budget Committee, and Donna EdwardsDonna F. EdwardsDemocratic Senate candidate blasts own party for racial 'foghorn' Autoworkers' union endorsing Van Hollen in MD Senate race Dem leaders' hard sell pays off on omnibus MORE, head of the Democrats' Steering and Policy Committee, who both quickly threw their hats into the ring. 

Maryland Reps. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsTop intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father Overnight Cybersecurity: Panel pushes agencies on dropping Kaspersky software | NC county won't pay ransom to hackers | Lawmakers sound alarm over ISIS 'cyber caliphate' Flynn told associate Russia sanctions would be ‘ripped up’ early in Trump presidency MORE (D), senior Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, John Delaney (D), John Sarbannes (D) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D) have also expressed interest in the race.

“I think almost everybody – not Steny – but almost everybody else is looking at the race,” Pelosi said, referring to Maryland Rep. Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThe nearly 60 Dems who voted for impeachment House rejects Democrat's resolution to impeach Trump Pelosi, Hoyer: Now is not the time to consider impeachment MORE, her top lieutenant. 

“Hopefully over the course of the next few weeks or months, there'll be some winnowing down.” 

Maryland is not alone. Pelosi also rued that 2016 Senate races in several other states – including California, Illinois and Florida – are also threatening to thin the crop of young and up-and-coming House Democrats. 

“We're used to improving the talent in the Senate, sending over some of our very best people. It’s just that so many of the people who are in the [House] leadership ... are looking at that,” Pelosi said. “And so my view is bittersweet. You know, I want members to reach their own personal fulfillment, and they'd be great [senators], I know. I also want to see some generational change in the House.”

Pelosi singled out Reps. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), head of the House Democratic Caucus, Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) as potentially leaving the House next year for a shot at the upper chamber. And that list, Pelosi said, “is not inclusive of all the names of people who are thinking about running” across the country.

“If I had my way I'd have none of them run, they'd all stay here and continue to enrich our leadership in the House,” Pelosi said. “But that's not how decisions are made. They're personal and individual and timely in people's lives and in their careers and the contribution that they can make and the opportunity that they have.”