US Midterms 2022: Democrats Fear Congressional Shakeup as 19 House Dems Will Not Seek Reelection

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GOP, Democrats - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.12.2021
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Earlier this week, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the longest-serving congressman in his state's history, became the 19th House Democrat to reveal he would not seek reelection in 2022. The pileup of Democratic departures has fueled doubts about the party's ability to maintain majority.
Renewed conversations about abortion and the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade have triggered a cascade of political opinions and questions about the talking point's impact on the upcoming midterm elections in the US, slated for Tuesday, November 8, 2022.

"A woman’s right to make our own health care choices will be a defining issue in the 2022 midterms," Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesperson Jazmin Vargas said to the Washington Post.

Debate around the polarizing issue of women's rights could be used to Democrats' advantage in their efforts to maintain a majority in the House of Representatives, where the party presently holds a narrow 221-213 majority.
As of this article's publication, 19 House Democrats have declared they will not run for reelection in the 2022 midterms.
Of the departures, 11 House Democrats have announced they will retire from public office: Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR); G.K. Butterfield (D-NC); Jackie Speier (D-CA); Michael Doyle (D-PA); David Price (D-NC); John Yarmuth (D-KY); Ron Kind (D-WI); Cheri Bustos (D-IL); Filemon Vela (D-TX); Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ); and Eddie Bernie Johnson (D-TX).
Additionally, 11 House Republicans have announced they will not seek reelection in 2022.
DeFazio's is the most recently announced departure. The 74-year-old congressman from Oregon announced in a Wednesday statement that he intends to "pass the baton to the next generation" after 36 years in the House.

"Chairman DeFazio is known and respected by all as a champion of sustainable, smart and green infrastructure, whose progressive values, passion and persistence have helped rebuild America and the middle class," noted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in a same-day statement.

While serving as chair of the Transportation Committee, DeFazio made headlines when he, House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) called out the Trump administration's interference in oversight investigations.
He notably took then-Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and then-Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to task in May 2020 over Trump's firing of Mitch Behm, a 17-year veteran who was overseeing a probe into allegations of ethics violations for the Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General.
While DeFazio's district will likely remain blue (Democrat) following the 2022 Midterms, the 74-year-old's retirement signals that Democrats are not confident they will retain House majority, National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Courtney Parella suggested to the Washington Post.
© REUTERS / Erin ScottRepresentative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) speaks during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee hearing on "State of Aviation Safety" in the aftermath of two deadly Boeing 737 MAX crashes since October, in Washington, D.C., U.S., July 17, 2019.
Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) speaks during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee hearing on State of Aviation Safety in the aftermath of two deadly Boeing 737 MAX crashes since October, in Washington, D.C., U.S., July 17, 2019. - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.12.2021
Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) speaks during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee hearing on "State of Aviation Safety" in the aftermath of two deadly Boeing 737 MAX crashes since October, in Washington, D.C., U.S., July 17, 2019.
"Committee Chairs don’t retire unless they know their majority is gone," Parella offered, adding, "Nancy Pelosi’s days as Speaker are numbered."
Because House Democrats (unlike their Republican counterparts) do not have term limits, DeFazio could have remained as head of the Transportation Committee if Democrats maintain the House majority.
DeFazio is not the only committee leader making an exit, as Reps. Johnson, chair of the House Sciences Committee, and Yarmuth, chair of the House House Committee on the Budget, have also announced they will not seek reelection in 2022.
Meanwhile, four House Dems - Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH), Conor Lamb (D-PA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Val Demings (D-FL) - are aspiring to switch to the other legislative chamber following the November election.
Ryan, who ran a failed 2020 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, has represented the Youngstown, Ohio, area since 2003, and plans to fill the vacant senate seat, despite Ohio turning red in the past three election cycles.
Ryan told reporters in April that he intended to make his campaign less about his political affiliation and more about the needs of workers and families.
Former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton notably called on Ryan to run for the US Senate seat back in January.
© AP Photo / Nati HarnikTim Ryan
Tim Ryan - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.12.2021
Tim Ryan
Meanwhile, five Republicans and a single Democrat in the Senate have announced they will not seek reelection: Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC); Pat Toomey (R-PA); Rob Portman (R-OH); Richard Shelby (R-AL); Roy Blunt (R-MO); and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and Charlie Crist (D-FL) have signaled that they will be entering the gubernatorial races of their respective states.
Suozzi, a Long Island resident in his third US congressional term, recently termed himself a "common-sense Democrat" offering every voter a break from the extreme views of far-left and far-right politicians.
While the US lawmaker from New York is set to face off against four other Democrats, his Floridian colleague is prepping to go up against Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Florida State Sen. Annette Taddeo for the Democratic nomination.
© AP Photo / Chris O'MearaU.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, gestures while he speaks to supporters during a campaign rally as he announces his run for Florida governor Tuesday, May 4, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Crist, who served as Florida governor for a single term before running other offices, is seeking the state’s highest office once again — this time as a Democrat.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, gestures while he speaks to supporters during a campaign rally as he announces his run for Florida governor Tuesday, May 4, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Crist, who served as Florida governor for a single term before running other offices, is seeking the state’s highest office once again — this time as a Democrat. - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.12.2021
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, gestures while he speaks to supporters during a campaign rally as he announces his run for Florida governor Tuesday, May 4, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Crist, who served as Florida governor for a single term before running other offices, is seeking the state’s highest office once again — this time as a Democrat.
Crist has already taken aim at incumbent Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, arguing earlier this year that DeSantis' response to the COVID-19 pandemic shows that he values "personal political fortunes" over the lives of the state's residents.
Additionally, Reps. Anthony G. Brown (D-MD) and Karen Bass (D-CA) have announced that they would be running for Maryland Attorney General and Mayor of Los Angeles, California, respectively.
With 19 House Democrats either singing their public service swan song or launching new campaigns, the party is not guaranteed that it will be able to maintain its majority in the chamber.
Sean Patrick Maloney, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that Democrats will be on the "offense," touting their major policy accomplishments.
"The lesson is: People don’t know if you don’t tell them. And no matter how popular your policies, people have to know you did it and they have to understand in most cases, every Republican voted against it," Maloney said in an interview last month.
According to the DCCC chairman, House Democrats will each hold five events on the infrastructure and spending packages, amounting to at least 1,000 events by the year's end. Biden will also work to support the election of House Democrats while touring the US this year.
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