Gowdy retires, retirement count tops 50

  • 1 February 2018
  • NormanL
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There are now more than 50 members of Congress who are retiring. Two-thirds of them are Republicans, the latest being Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina. What do all these retirements mean as the 2018 election season gets underway. Via National Review, we get a few ideas to consider, including this one:

...everybody is focused on how all these retirements — over 50 in the House, four so far in the Senate, and 17 governors — will affect the balance of power between the parties. But they also represent a huge opportunity to test the balance of power within the parties, as we could see a blizzard of contested primaries just for open seats, even leaving aside challenges to incumbents. On the Republican side, that will test both the relative strength of the party establishment and the question of whether the Trump/Bannon populist wing has permanently supplanted the conservative/Tea Party wing as the main challenger to the establishment. On the Democratic side, the progressive-populist insurgency that backed Bernie Sanders will be chomping at the bit to flex its own muscles — as indeed, Brady was facing a primary challenge on his left. A year from now, we may know a lot more about who comes out on top of these battles.

Congressional retirements come in waves -- and yes, redistricting and the possiblity of a rough mid term election season both play big roles in the decisions some members make.

But this also means there will be primaries -- lots of them. And the point that these primaries could shape the philosophies of both parties for a decade or more cannot be understated. All the more reason to get informed about races in your state. Know the candidates, their policy positions, and their reasons for wanting to go to Washington. And once you've done that homework, consider supporting the candidate who checks all your boxes. This will be a rough, tough, and potentially nasty election year. Good people will be running, and they need smart, dedicated people to help them win. Get involved now -- and stay involved through November. It will be some of the hardest, and most enjoyable, work you will ever do.