Pelosi’s vulnerable House majority at midterms threatened by exodus of Democrats

It is becoming increasingly difficult for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to keep control of the chamber in the 2022 midterm elections as several of the party’s members are looking for the exits.

At present, Democrats control the House 218-212 with five vacancies, most of which are Democrat-held seats. But with a growing number of Democrats looking at other opportunities during the upcoming midterms, Pelosi’s already thin majority is likely to be pared even further.

For instance, Rep. Charlie Crist, a one-time Republican governor of Florida who later changed parties, announced over the weekend that he is making another run for the state’s top job, which pits him against increasingly popular GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis. “If you feel up to the task, and people are telling you it’s time, I want to do it,” he said in a recent interview, according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, a former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chairwoman and a top ally of Pelosi, announced she will be retiring from Congress last week. Bustos barely won her race in 2020 in a district that former President Donald Trump won twice — in 2016 and last year. Also, Illinois, a blue state, lost a congressional seat according to the most recent U.S. Census, although a supermajority of state Democrats will control the 2022 redistricting, Breitbart News reported.

Also, Democrats Reps. Conor Lamb and Chrissy Houlahan are both said to be considering running for retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey’s seat. That leaves Pelosi and her party with a reduced amount of time to find suitable candidates to run for those seats, giving Republicans an advantage. Also, political observers reportedly believe that the GOP can pick up at least one of those seats, while the party controls the state legislature and thus the redistricting, though Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf can veto their congressional maps.

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas) are also both retiring, with Republicans hoping to retake Kirkpatrick’s district, “which represents Tucson and Cochise County on the U.S.-Mexico border, one of the most historically contested districts,” Breitbart News noted.

Democrat Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, who launched a failed bid for the Democratic presidential nomination last year, announced that he will be running for a U.S. Senate seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Rob Portman. And Democrat Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida is also considering a run against incumbent GOP Sen. Marco Rubio.

As for the Florida gubernatorial race, another current Democratic lawmaker, Val Demings, may also jump in to try and unseat DeSantis. One source told Politico, “At this point, it’s more likely than not that she does run.”

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of Texas is considered vulnerable and is being targeted by Republicans after a report revealed that he held more than $100,000 in the state-owned Bank of China.

Mike Berg, a National Republican Campaign Committee spokesman, said, “who can blame” Democrats for trying to leave the House.

“Democrats’ campaign arm blew their best chance to pad their slim House majority this weekend when they got shut out of the runoff in TX-06, a district targeted by the DCCC last cycle that President Trump carried by 3 points,” he added, according to Breitbart.

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Jon Dougherty

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