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Pelosi: GOP retirements indicate they'll be in the minority, with Democrat in the White House

Pelosi: GOP retirements indicate they'll be in the minority, with Democrat in the White House
© Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiObama chief economist says Democrats should accept smaller coronavirus relief package if necessary The five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Democrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? MORE (D-Calif.) said a wave of retirements among GOP lawmakers indicates Republicans will be relegated to the minority for at least another term after the 2020 election. 

“I think it's an indication that Republicans know that they'll probably be serving in the minority in the next Congress and most likely with a Democrat in the White House,” she told C-SPAN of the 15 retirements so far. “So I think maybe they think it’s time to spend more time with their families.” 

While most of the retirements have been in ruby red congressional districts that should be easy for the GOP to hold, others have been particularly painful for the House Republican delegation. Among others, the party is losing Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHouse Hispanic Republicans welcome four new members Democrats lead in diversity in new Congress despite GOP gains Senate passes bill to secure internet-connected devices against cyber vulnerabilities MORE (Texas), the only black Republican in the House, and Reps. Susan BrooksSusan Wiant BrooksVoters elected a record number of Black women to Congress this year — none were Republican Here are the 17 GOP women newly elected to the House this year The year of the Republican woman MORE (Ind.) and Martha RobyMartha Dubina RobyThe year of the Republican woman Barry Moore wins Alabama GOP runoff to replace Martha Roby The 14 other key races to watch on Super Tuesday MORE (Ala.), two of the GOP’s 13 female lawmakers.

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Observers believe the acrimonious atmosphere in Congress’ lower chamber and frustration with being in the minority are the chief factors in the slate of retirements.

“The most likely outcome is a status quo election for the House. And that certainly influences people’s decision [to retire], whether they think they can regain the majority or not,” former Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloHouse Hispanic Republicans welcome four new members House adjusts format for dinner with new members after criticism Former GOP congressman calls for Biden to receive presidential briefings MORE (R-Fla.), one of two dozen Republicans who was unseated during the 2018 midterms, told The Hill last week. “For sure, some of those members who retired, [staying in the minority] was a factor in their thinking.”

“The retirements are unnerving,” added Bill Miller, a GOP lobbyist and consultant based in Austin, Texas. “The reality is that life in the minority is just not as appealing, but at the same time, in some of these cases, there is a little bit of fear of losing built into the decisions not to run again.”

Democrats, who had been in the minority since they lost 63 seats in the 2010 Tea Party wave, won back the majority in last year’s midterm elections.