Two longtime House Democrats, Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania and David Price of North Carolina, announced their retirements on Monday.
Their departures come a week after Congressmanof Kentucky said this term would be his last, and continues a pattern of House Democrats either retiring or running for another office, since Democrats hold a slim majority of just eight seats. In total, 12 Democrats have announced their departure from the House, compared with eight Republicans.
Republicans hold total control over redistricting in North Carolina, while Pennsylvania’s maps are likely to go to court if Democratic Governor Tom Wolf rejects the map submitted by the GOP legislature.
Neither Doyle’s nor Price’s seats have been competitive in recent years, and both were likely to remain heavily Democratic after redistricting. Still, Doyle said the change in makeup of his district creates “a good transition time.”
“This could be a brand new district. New people, new counties, maybe, and a good starting point for a new member of Congress to get acclimated in that district and, and go from there,” he said at his retirement announcement.
“While it is time for me to retire, it is no time to flag in our efforts to secure a ‘more perfect union’ and to protect and expand our democracy,” Price said in his statement.
Price serves as chairman of a House subcommittee for Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. Doyle serves as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.
In their announcements, the two members talked about the work ahead of them and congressional Democrats in the next 15 months.
Doyle specifically noted the stalled infrastructure and reconciliation bills in Congress, and said “what frustrates me is the idea that maybe we would do nothing because each faction didn’t get everything they wanted.”
“Nobody’s going to get everything they want in that [reconciliation bill]. So the question is do we do something or do we do nothing?” he said. In an interview with WRAL, Price said “it will be a huge disappointment if we cannot redeem this moment.”
Both of their seats are now open for the first time in decades: Price was first elected in 1986, while Doyle has served since 1996.
University of Pittsburgh law professor Jerry Dickinson, a Democrat, had already planned to challenge Doyle, while fellow Democrat state Representative Summer Lee filed Monday morning. Democratic North Carolina state Senator Wiley Nickel launched a campaign for Price’s seat, and has already reported $192,000 cash on hand.
Following Doyle’s and Price’s announcements, the National Republican Congressional Committee sent out releases about three House Democrats who had relatively weak fundraising quarters, and suggested they were up next to retire: Stephanie Murphy of Florida, G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina and Steve Cohen of Tennessee.
“Smart Democrats are fleeing Congress as fast as humanly possible because they know Democrats’ majority is coming to an end,” wrote NRCC spokesman Mike Berg.