| Shocking news from the Columbus Dispatch:
Rep. Deborah Pryce of Upper Arlington has told some of her fellow Republicans she is strongly considering not seeking re-election next year, The Dispatch has learned.
Pryce, 56, who has been a fixture in the U.S. House since her election in 1992, could make an announcement soon about her plans. Republican sources say if she does not run, former Ohio Attorney General James Petro might seek the seat.
Other GOP sources also mention state Sen. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington, an Iraq veteran, as a strong possibility if Pryce drops out.
A senior Republican who spoke only on condition of not being identified said Pryce has concluded it is far too difficult to raise her adopted daughter Mia in Columbus while simultaneously maintaining a five-day schedule in Washington.
"I don't think anybody can talk her out of it,'' the top Republican said.
Pryce could not immediately be reached for comment.
But according to the Buckeye State Blog, Franklin County Republicans are having a difficult time finding a top-tier replacement for Pryce:
The story gets better too. Doug Priese, Chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party, got word of the retirement yesterday from the Congresswoman's office. In a span of 24 hours the GOP has already had it's top two potential challengers declare they wouldn't touch OH-15 with a stick.
The GOP's dream challenger to replace Pryce is State Senator Jim Stivers. Unfortunately for the Republicans, Stivers turned the Franklin County Republican Party down on the spot yesterday when approached with an offer to run. Since Stivers is up for re-election in the Senate, and approaching an opportunity to serve as Senate President, he views a run for Congress to risky in a district clearly trending Democrat.
Additionally, I've heard the GOP approached former Gubernatorial candidate and Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro to jump into the race. However, like Stivers, Petro officially turned the party down for fear of the district and fundraising concerns in a hostile climate.
If true, this is absolutely huge news. With 2006 candidate and Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy in the race, Democrats would be well-poised to snag this Democratic-trending seat. At a PVI of R+1.1, this district split its vote 50-50 for Bush and Kerry in 2004, after Bush carried this district by a comfortable eight points in 2000.
If Pryce bails, perhaps the dam will break and similar incumbents facing pressure to keep their seats by the NRCC will take the retirement plunge.
UPDATE: The Hill cites GOP sources claiming that Pryce's retirement is a done deal:
Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio) will announce Thursday that she will not run for reelection in 2008, according to sources close to the congresswoman's office.
Pryce's office announced it will hold a press conference in her Columbus office on Thursday at 11 a.m. concerning her plans for 2008.
The timing of Pryce's impending retirement comes largely as a surprise. A former leader of the GOP's ousted majority, she is in her eighth term but is only 56 years old - much younger than many of the prospective Republican retirees.
Oh, I can't wait for more surprises. Some call this the dog days of summer. I call it Christmas time for House retirement watchers.
UPDATE 2: The Dispatch confirms. Debby Pryce is out.