The Dec. 9 retirement announcement of Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash) was the third by a House Democrat in as many weeks. So does Baird portend a barrage of Democratic retirement announcements in a historically challenging midterm election year? Or are Republicans making a mountain out of a molehill?
For those of you keeping score at home, Baird is just the ninth Democrat to announce plans to retire or seek other office, compared to 12 Republicans who have similar plans. See the full list of 21 soon-to-exit House members here.
Precisely two years ago, in mid-December 2007, a similar number of House members had disclosed plans to forego re-election in 2008, though the partisan ratio was much more lopsided (17 Republicans and four Democrats). During a three-month stretch in the summer and fall of 2007, all 12 House members who announced plans to retire were Republicans.