And yet another Republican crumb-bum has decided to give it up. Rep. Jim McCrery (R-LA) has scheduled a press conference tonight with local media to announce his retirement. GOP sources are telling The Politico that McCrery will retire at the end of the 110th Congress, as opposed to pulling a Trent Lott. By my count, that brings us to 18 GOP retirements in the House so far.
McCrery's Shreveport-based seat is fairly red at the federal level, having supported Bush by 12 and 19-point margins in 2000 and 2004, respectively. Still, it's not that much more Republican than Democrat Charlie Melancon's district, which supported Bush by a 17-point spread in '04.
This announcement should open up a horse race for his replacement. The most likely Republican successor is Shreveport attorney, former mayoral candidate ('06), and McCrery's attorney Jerry Jones. If he gets in, which I'm sure he will, I doubt any other viable Repubs will join him.
On the D side, it's really anyone's guess. I have heard rumors of a handful of current and former state representatives, as well as former two-term Shreveport mayor Keith Hightower, as possible candidates. And Patti Cox, local party organizer and environmental consultant who ran in '06, is planning to run again.
This is a district that could very easily return to Democratic hands. It leans Republican (+7) and went strongly in favor of Bush in the last two races (59% in '04). But the contentious Shreveport mayoral race in 2006 went to the African-American Democrat Cedric Glover by a wider-than-expected margin in a contest that went down to the wire and split the electorate largely along racial lines. If that was any prediction, turnout could be the deciding factor in this district.
Definitely a race to keep a close eye on as the local parties scramble to find candidates here.
UPDATE: The Associated Press confirms it. Sounds like being in the minority was too much of a bummer for him.