Jan 20, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Trend reversal: Dems now fleeing into retirement

Data: Ballotpedia; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

More Senate and House Republicans than Democrats have dropped out of re-election races during the past four election cycles — but the trend is being reversed this year, according to data from Ballotpedia.

Why it matters: Incumbents have a huge re-election advantage. When they don't run, it opens the door for new candidates — including more partisan ones, or those from the opposing party. Democrats face tough times: they're led by an unpopular president and are part of a divided party.

By the numbers: As of Tuesday, 29 Senate and House Democrats have announced they will not seek re-election in their state or district this November, along with 18 Republicans.

That's a total of 47, with more than nine months to go.

  • 55 total members of Congress did not seek re-election in the 2018 midterms — up from 48 in 2014.
  • Two Democratic retirement announcements were made Tuesday, part of a recent steady stream.
  • In the last two midterm cycles, 10 or more congressional members announced their retirement between February and November of the election year, according to Ballotpedia.

In the Senate, the number of retirement announcements is outpacing both the 2020 and 2018 election years.

  • In the House, the number of members not seeking re-election is higher than 2020 but lower than 2018 at the same point in each cycle.

Go deeper with Axios' 2022 House retirement tracker.

Go deeper