| It's about time that we made another assessment of the House open seat picture, wouldn't you say? Just like we did last time, let's gather up all of the confirmed and potential retirements/vacancies in the House, as well as the seats that were once considered potentially open, but now are not. We've also created a perma-post which you can find here or in the right-hand sidebar under "SSP Resources." Please note that "age" in our charts refers to the incumbent's age on election day, 2010.
Let's do it:
It's only the end of April, and we already have 15 open seats (two of which will be resolved in special elections later this year). Compare today's situation with our open seat watch from two years ago, when there were only three confirmed open seats (and one of those retiring Reps, Luis Gutierrez, later reneged!). Of course, the big difference is that this cycle is host to a few dozen gubernatorial races -- providing ample opportunities for House members (particularly beleaguered Republicans) to escape the DC scene. Indeed, all of the open seats in the above list could be placed in the "movin' on up" category.
We haven't even seen any straight-up retirements yet. Last cycle, the dam broke in August with the retirements of Dennis Hastert, Charles Pickering, and Deborah Pryce -- that batch was soon followed up with the likes of Rick Renzi, Jerry Weller, and Jim Ramstad. I'm sure we'll see our share of retirements later this year (and even more statewide runs), perhaps of names from the following column:
See anything we missed? Now is a good time to note that shortly after we posted our previous Open Seat Watch, a press flack for Illinois GOP Rep. Judy Biggert sent us the following email:
I noticed your post "Swing State Project:: House Open Seat Watch (2/2/09)", and I thought you might be interested to know that Congresswoman Biggert has already announced that she will be running for a seventh term. Hope you find this info helpful.
I then followed this up with a request for a link to a press release or a news article on Biggert's re-election announcement (something I could not find on The Google). We received the following reply:
I'll have to check around. I'll let you know.
After three months of radio silence from Camp Biggert, her name is staying on the list. A list of incumbents whose names have been removed from our open seat watch is available below the fold.