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OH-15: Pryce to Retire (Updated)

by: James L.

Wed Aug 15, 2007 at 2:19 PM EDT

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.

James L. :: OH-15: Pryce to Retire (Updated)
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Does one really
suddenly realize that you can't raise your kid while in Congress?  This particular retirement does seem to be coming out of the blue, although I'm hardly privy to good GOP gossip.  Was this rumored for a while, was Pryce's discontent with her family situation known, or did she just, um, suddenly decide she had a parenting problem?  I've always thought of Pryce as a reasonably clean member of Congress, but any sudden announcement makes my ears perk up... especially since the GOP is obviously stuck without a candidate at the moment, and the Dems aren't.  As a courtesy, wouldn't she have normally delayed her announcement until the NRCC had had a chance to do some recruiting, so they could have a better press storyline than "well, we've got nothing?"

The only red flag I can think of is that Pryce was supposedly a "Hastert ally", and he's also set to announce his retirement this week. 

Any of the Hastert experts know if something is in the prosecutorial pipeline here?

Also, anyone know when she adopted her child, and how old she is?

28, gay guy, Democrat, CA-08

I believe I heard a suggestion...
...a while ago that Pryce might retire, but I didn't take it seriously.  It's certainly a surprise, but CQ finds some recent clues that she dropped:

Pryce had been raising funds hard until recently for a 2008 re-election bid. She reported raising $594,000 in the first six months of 2007 and had $453,000 in her campaign account as July began; Kilroy had raised $61,000 during the period and banked $26,000.

But Pryce's full-time fundraising aide in Columbus was "cut loose" recently, according to one Republican source, and Pryce gave her 2006 campaign manager and former Capitol Hill aide John J. Destefano $20,000 in bonuses from her campaign account in the reporting quarter that ended June 30, an unusual move if she were planning to seek re-election in a tight and expensive race.

Wow.  $20k for a bonus is a pretty sweet deal.

[ Parent ]
Well don't you remember in the past
That Congress was also called the "Tuesday through Thursday Club". Basically, under Republican control, they only worked 3 days a week so presumably she could spend 4 days a week raising her daughter. Now she works 4 or 5 days a week, and for someone who hasn't worked that hard in 12 years, "it's hard work!"

This is great news, however. Stick a fork into this district. It's done, it's ours.

[ Parent ]
It can't be fun... have an assumption of satefy and seniority, and then have to raise and spend $4 million to win by 1,100 votes.

This is good news - if someone fairly young and well-positioned in leadership doesn't feel like sticking around, she won't be alone.

The Surprising Nature of this Retirement
As recently as August 6, the Cook Report didn't see it coming.


Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

Surprising yes - but also not
I didn't see it coming. But at the same time it makes sense. Why spend the next 14+ months raising money for much of her day on a race she might not win - especially since she's no longer in the leadership, the Republicans don't look likely to return to the majority, and she's young enough to work in another (perhaps more enjoyable) field for a bit. Given those basic dynamics I expect we'll see a few more "surprising" retirements.

The counter arguments
to your case would be that Pryce probably thinks that if she survives 08, then she'll have a much easier time in 10 (Democratic president, house and senate will tend to make moderate Republicans look desirable again, to the powers-that-be, the press, and thus the voters; plus if she survives two close calls the Ds would probably look elsewhere), and if she survives '10 she can get a favorable redistricting in '11 by offloading her Democrats into a new Democratic district centered in Columbus (currently there isn't one, but there will be).  She'd then be set for the rest of the decade, the GOP could plausibly get the House back in 2012 or 2014 , and because she is young and has already been in leadership, she could easily be high up in leadership again, especially if the reconstituted GOP is more moderate, which it will be if Dems play their cards right.  So, she's 56 now, she could plausibly hope to be speaker or Minority Leader or something by the time she's 65.  (A little hard to imagine given that she's pro-choice though.)  Anyway, being young and having been the #4 already... it'd be a little bit like Harold Ford retiring from politics (though he's quite a bit younger than she). 

You're certainly right that there is a compelling reason to go, but there are also compelling reasons to stay. 

Incidentally, she might still be a candidate to replace Voinovich if he retires in 2010.  Given the state of the Ohio GOP, she's possibly the only attractive candidate they have.  And she might be willing to do it too, even given the family stuff, because Senators only have to campaign once every 6 years.

28, gay guy, Democrat, CA-08

[ Parent ]
More arguments on your side though,
here's the answer to a question I posed earlier:

According to congressional sources, Pryce is finding it painfully difficult to balance the demands of her job in Congress, a second bruising re-election campaign and her duties as the single mother of a young daughter.

She adopted her daughter Mia as an infant in 2002, following the 1999 death from cancer of her 9-year-old daughter Caroline and her subsequent divorce from her husband of 21 years, Randy Walker.

So, she's got a four year old.  Plus she's lived through tragedy and knows she only has one life.  Having been through all that, I can imagine deciding that fifteen more years in Congress really isn't all that great.

Also, she's a "Hastert ally."  Depending on what exactly that means, she might be rendered a mere backbencher by his departure, with no real future leadership prospects.  I dunno enough about that to evaluate.

28, gay guy, Democrat, CA-08

[ Parent ]
a 4 year old
Yep, I bet that matters a great deal.

But you might well be right about that 2010 Senate race. She could sort of pull a Blanche Lincoln on that (retire when the kids are really tiny, then run statewide a couple years later). I imagine Rob Portman will be running for governor or for the Senate that year - but if Voinovich retires that'll leave one big race in need of a Republican nominee.

[ Parent ]
long-term prospects favor Democrats
Pryce won in 2006 by a thousand votes.  Meanwhile Bush is dragging the Republican brand down even further for the 2008 cycle.  If Pryce survived 2008, she would likely still be in the minority for a couple of cycles, and in 2012, redistricting would likely make her seat even less safe (Ohio has managed to split Franklin County just well enough to disperse Democratic voters between this district and Tiberi's).

If I am Deborah Pryce, I have a hard time seeing how I would ever regain the influence I had before November 2006.

[ Parent ]
And Hobson's district.
Dave Hobson's district has a slice of Franklin that could be added to the 12th and/or 15th districts in a redistricting process to firm up the Democratic base there:


[ Parent ]
Pryce & the Equal Pay Legislation
Late last month, the House passed HR 2831, a bill to overrule a Supreme Court decision which stated that a case alleging an equal pay violation on the basis of sex had to filed within 180 days of the initial unequal payment.  Thus, someone who discovered the years after the fact had no recourse.

Only two Republicans (Chris Shays and Don Young) voted in favor of this bill, which means all Republican women voted the other way.  Now, the number of Republican women who are total nutcases is rather high, including Barbara Cubin, Marilyn Musgrave, Jean Schmidt and Marsha Blackburn, but I would classify others as relatively sane including Heather Wilson, Joanne Emerson and Pryce.  If Pryce was contemplating retirement, why did she vote against this bill?

I would also like to add... your list of female wingnuts: Virginia Foxx.  God how I hate that bitch.

Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

[ Parent ]
and then there is
Michelle BACHMANN of Minnesota who was "told by God to run for Congress".

"My name's Dr. Multimillionaire and I kicked your ass." -- Rep. Steve Kagen D-WI to Karl Rove

[ Parent ]
good lord
How could anyone possibly forget about that one... lol even though I did hahahaa

[ Parent ]
I would almost argue the opposite
I was really surprised at how few GOPers voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Somehow, I don't think their usual tropes ("frivolous lawsuits flooding the courts!") have the same strength they once did.

And what's more, if the Dems cut an ad with Ledbetter herself that can be used across districts, it could be devastating. I mean, this woman was actually discriminated against. This isn't some story about some ticky-tack procedural bullshit that no one cares about and that can be waved away. The Supreme Court said, "Yeah, you were discriminated against, but tough luck." That's a hard thing for the GOP to walk away from, I think.

In other words, a "moderate" GOPer would have been smart to vote for this bill. And I'm surprised the GOP bothered to whip on this bill, since it was going to pass anyway. The CFG and all those groups who hate trial lawyers must have really laid down the law on this one as a serious litmus-test issue, even though they knew they couldn't stop the bill.

[ Parent ]
when I heard about this
I simply assumed she was still depressed her best friend in the House, pedophile Mark FOLEY, was no longer around to bring joy into the lives of Republican children on Capitol Hill.

"My name's Dr. Multimillionaire and I kicked your ass." -- Rep. Steve Kagen D-WI to Karl Rove

"The Perfect (Ohio) Storm"
1. The Ohio GOP is in shambles (seriously)
2. Brooks dropped out of the race on the Dem side
3. The DCCC now has some great young staffers with DEEP Ohio experience
4. The rising tide is raising all of the Ohio Dem US House boats. For example, consider some of the candidates running for the US House in Ohio: Judge O'Neill in OH-14, Steve Driehaus in OH-1,and, of course,  State Senator John Boccieri in OH-16
5. Three words: GOVERNOR Ted Strickland

And finally, we have gone from the depths of election depravity under the former SoS "He-who's-Name-Must-Not-Be Spoken," to the competence of Jennifer Brunner (with Marc Dann as State ATtorney General to back her up.)

So ask yourself, if your were a GOPer and the 25% Shrub was in the White House, would YOU wanna run?

I didna think so..

So three retirements
In the OH delegation alone. Pretty impressive. Wonder if we might see any more GOP crumb-bums from the Buckeye State bail?

[ Parent ]
pryce, chabot and..... 

[ Parent ]
David was referring to Pryce, Regula, and Hobson.  Regula and Hobson, of course, have yet to confirm the rumors.

[ Parent ]
i just read further down SSP, i have a lot of posts to catch up on, :)

and i guessed on chabot, that bastard should retire, i hate when big cities are represented by a Republicans

[ Parent ]
No kidding.
It just doesn't make any sense to have a metro area like Cincinnati routinely vote for Republican'ts like Chabot.  I hope that Steve Driehaus is the real deal.

[ Parent ]
"Steve Driehaus is the real deal."
[ Parent ]

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