Two Democrats from the House of Representatives have announced their retirement following the tumultuous Speaker drama. The political landscape seems to be shifting as the Democrats scramble to regain control amidst growing Republican dominance.
Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Rep. Jeff Jackson (D-N.C.) are the latest to bid adieu to Congress. Sarbanes, after nearly two decades of service, expressed his desire to return to non-profit work. His departure comes after the controversial removal of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as speaker and the subsequent election of a replacement. Sarbanes expressed his optimism for the Democrat leadership’s future, praising their efforts to regain majority status in 2025.
Meanwhile, Jackson, a newcomer who took office in January, announced he would not be running for re-election in 2024. Instead, he plans to run for North Carolina attorney general, vowing to “go after political corruption.” His departure adds to the growing number of Democrats leaving Congress to retire or seek other offices, including Reps. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), Andy Kim (D-Calif.), and Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.).
These departures come at a time when Republicans are gaining ground, with 221 members currently controlling the House. The Democrats, with 212 members and two vacancies, are struggling to hold their ground. The 2022 midterm elections saw the Republicans outperform the Democrats, flipping control of the lower chamber, while the Democrats managed to retain control of the Senate by a slim margin.
The departures of Sarbanes and Jackson have raised eyebrows, with speculation rife about potential replacements. Only one Democrat, nurse Kristin Lyman Nabors, has declared her candidacy for the race so far. However, no new announcements have been made in the wake of Sarbanes’ pending retirement, leading to speculation about potential candidates from state lawmakers.
The drama isn’t over yet. The redrawing of district boundaries could see Republicans flip North Carolina’s 14th congressional district, with no Democrats having announced a bid for the redrawn seat. Political handicappers rate the seat as safe for Democrats, but only time will tell if this prediction holds true.