"It's been mentioned by a few people, myself included, but it bears repeating: Dems know that if they experience a wave of retirements this year, they're in trouble. In '94, Dems lost 21 seats in which the incumbent decided against seeking another term."
"That's why DCCC chair Chris Van Hollen has put so much emphasis on keeping incumbents in their races. And he's been largely successful; to date, only Rep. Dennis Moore (D-KS, pictured right) has announced he will retire without seeking another office."
"Thanksgiving and the ensuing winter holiday break are when members go home, sit down with their families and decide their political future. Each year, retirements seem to surge in Dec. and Jan."
"A top Dem aide plugged in to the party's efforts to keep their majority says things will only look bad if as many as 20 members retire. That number is higher than anyone expects, but there may be as many as a dozen who do decide against stepping down."
"Moore's departure caused a few Dems to panic a bit, and to get a little defensive. If Reps. Ike Skelton (D-MO), Leonard Boswell (D-IA) or other entrenched incumbents in GOP-leaning seats start looking for new lines of work, maybe they'll have a real reason to panic."
As the rumor mill continues to grind in Lafayette Co., Skelton's retirement is not out of the realm of possibilities. Skelton is much more vulnerable than Dennis Moore, the Democrat who announced his retirement on Monday for the following reasons:
1) John McCain won Skelton's district with 60% of the vote, while President Obama narrowly carried Moore's Kansas district with 51%.
2) Skelton represents a district far more sympathetic to Republicans and is more conservative than the district represented by Moore.
3) Analysts list Skeltons seat as “Leans” Democrat, while Moore had a less vulnerable rating of “Likely” Democrat before he stepped aside.
4) According to Cook's David Wasserman, “Of all Democrats who voted for both the Obama stimulus and Democrats cap and trade energy bill, Skelton represents the most heavily GOP seat.” (David Wasserman, “House: Time to Rethink Who the Vulnerable Democrats Are,” Cook Political Report, 11/19/09)
5) Both Skelton and Moore supported the failed stimulus package, but Skelton has more to answer for back home as Missouris unemployment rate of 9.3% is higher than that of Kansas (6.8%).