Ros-Lehtinen retirement a bad sign for the GOP
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's announcement that she is retiring is terrible news for the GOP.
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the dean of the Florida legislative delegation and the first Cuban American elected to Congress, is retiring at the end of her term next year, saying it's time to move on after more than 35 years in elected office.
"It's been such a delight and a high honor to serve our community for so many years and help constituents every day of the week," the Miami Republican told the Miami Herald in an exclusive telephone interview Sunday. "We just said, 'It's time to take a new step.'"
Her unexpected retirement marks the end of a storied career in which Ros-Lehtinen repeatedly broke political ground as a Cuban-American woman – and gives Democrats an opportunity to pick up a South Florida congressional seat in 2018.
Her district was redrawn to favor Democrats, so she likely is the only Republican who could win it. Hillary Clinton won the district by 20% in 2016, Ros-Lehtinen by 10%. That is a huge gap.
Young Cubans are more liberal than their parents. Traditionally, three south Florida districts were held by Cuban Republicans. All of them are now competitive seats.
It is a bad sign when members in the majority party retire. Usually, it is House members in the minority who think they are powerless and pack it in.