A Flood of Retirements in Congress Threatens to Upend the 2024 Election


Less than a year before election day 2024, the number of retirements in the House and the Senate may break a record for this cycle.

Thirty-four members of Congress have already announced they were not seeking re-election, including Senator Joe Manchin whose West Virginia Senate seat has moved from “Leans Republican” to “Safe Republican” in the Sabato Crystal Ball ratings.

Few retirements in Congress will lead to that kind of a decisive difference. Since most Congressmen are already in non-competitive districts, a retirement won’t matter in many districts.

But there’s still the known commodity vs. the unknown candidate. The known commodity is a proven fundraiser and vote-getter. So even with a high partisan lean in a district carried by Joe Biden, there’s no guarantee a Democratic candidate will prevail.

According to Politico, out of the last 15 elections, the party with the fewest retirements has won 10 of them. Even with a partisan lean of 10, a district with a retired incumbent is still considered “in play” by the opposing party.

(FiveThirtyEight’ defines partisan lean “as the average margin difference2 between how a state or district votes and how the country votes overall. 

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