Two House Democrats announce they won’t seek reelection

Two House Democrats announced within minutes of each other on Tuesday that they won’t seek reelection this year, becoming the latest lawmakers to opt out of running in what’s expected to be a difficult midterm cycle for the party.

Reps. Jim Langevin (R.I.) and Jerry McNerney (Calif.) are the latest in a string of House Democrats deciding not to run in an election year made more difficult by the party’s struggles to enact its agenda in Congress, once-a-decade redistricting and the historical tendency for a new president’s party to lose seats in midterm years.

Langevin, who became paralyzed after a bullet accidentally struck him during a Boy Scout program at the age of 16, is the first quadriplegic to serve in the House. He won reelection in 2020 by almost 17 points.

He said in a video announcement that it’s “time for me to chart a new course, which I hope will keep me closer to home and allow me to spend more time with family and friends.” 

“After serving the people of Rhode Island for over 36 years, including 11 terms and nearly 22 years in Congress, today I’m announcing that I will not be a candidate for elected office this November,” Langevin said.

And McNerney, who has served in the House since 2007, said he would not seek reelection to a newly drawn district.

“I am honored that the citizens of California’s 9th Congressional District chose me as their representative in the past five elections, and that those in California’s previous 11th Congressional District gave me the privilege of representing them for three terms,” McNerney said.

McNerney’s departure gives an opening for Rep. Josh Harder (D-Calif.) to run in the redrawn district instead, which is expected to be relatively safe terrain for Democrats. 

Harder said shortly after McNerney’s announcement that he will run in the newly vacated district.

“150 years ago my great-great-grandpa settled in Manteca to start a peach farm and raise his family. Today, I’m excited to announce I’ll be running for reelection in CA-9, that very same community,” Harder wrote on Twitter.

“Rep. Jerry McNerney has made our entire state proud throughout his career. I’m grateful to call him a mentor and a friend. Please join me in thanking him for a life of public service,” Harder added.

There are now a total of 28 House Democrats who aren’t seeking reelection this year. By contrast, 14 House Republicans are retiring, seeking other elected offices or have resigned from the House for jobs in the private sector.

By comparison, at this point in the 2018 midterm election cycle, 31 House Republicans had announced they weren’t seeking reelection before their party went on to lose the majority in a referendum on former President Trump. Fifteen House Democrats had also announced retirements by this point that year.

Republicans only need to flip five seats in November to retake the House majority.

Updated at 2:59 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Jerry McNerney Jim Langevin

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