GOP Rep. Dave Trott of Michigan announced his retirement Monday, making him the third swing district Republican to back out of the 2018 race in a week, showing a pattern that might imperil the GOP’s House majority in 2018.
Trott’s announcement comes days after GOP Reps. Dave Reichert of Washington and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania announced they would not run for re-election in 2018. The three lawmakers join fellow Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, who announced her retirement earlier this year.
The recent retirees managed to secure successive victories in traditionally swing districts, so their departures create a significant opportunity for Democrats to capture the now-vulnerable seats.
In the wake of Trott’s retirement, analysts at “Sabato’s Crystal Ball” and “Cook’s Political Report” immediately changed their designation for Michigan’s 11th District from “likely” Republican to a toss up. Trump won the district by just under five points.
Reichert’s retirement announcement resulted in the same shift in Washington’s 8th District, which Reichert secured despite the fact it was carried by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama and former Vice President John Kerry. The same is true of Dent’s announcement which turned his district from an expected GOP win to a toss up.
Associate editor of “Sabato’s Crystal Ball,” Geoff Skelley, said the three retirements coming in rapid succession represents a troubling for pattern for a Republican party that has yet to deliver on any of its major campaign promises despite its majority in both houses of Congress and control of the White House.
“These three retirement announcements, coming so close together, must raise concerns among Republicans that additional retirements may be coming down the pike,” Skelley told TheDCNF. “The more open Republican-held House seat there are, the better Democratic chances are in 2018. What has transpired does not mean Democrats will win back the House in 2018, but if it’s the start of a retirement wave, it’s impossible not to view it as bad news for the GOP.”
Skelley cautioned against assuming Democrats will recapture the relevant districts but asserted “there’s no question that the lack of a GOP incumbent will probably make it more difficult for Republicans to maintain their hold on all three [districts].”
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