Announced retirement of 12-term Dem rep helps GOP push toward House majority

Democrats show every sign of believing that their majority in the House of Representatives will vanish after the 2022 midterms.  The latest indicator also helps make that assessment come true.

Rep. Ron Kind, a 12-term Democrat congressman representing Western Wisconsin's Third District, has announced his retirement.  According to Just The News, which broke the story:

"The truth is I've run out of gas," Kind told reporters in La Crosse.

The congressman is being euphemistic.  It's no fun being in the House minority, and when members of the majority party sense a turnover, large numbers of them typically retire.  Because incumbents tend to get re-elected, such retirements accelerate the looming turnover.

Rep. Ron Kind (U.S. Congress official photo).

Politico provides some background on why Kind's retirement is likely to result in a GOP pickup.

Kind, who has spent nearly 25 years in the House, faced a closer-than-expected race in his sprawling rural Wisconsin seat last fall. He beat his GOP challenger Derrick Van Orden by less than 3 percentage points in 2020, after winning by nearly 20 points the previous cycle. 

Democrats close to Kind said he acknowledged his reelection would be tougher this year, with Van Orden, a retired Navy SEAL, seeking a rematch. The GOP candidate raised a whopping $750,000 last quarter, outpacing the incumbent. Still, Democratic lawmakers and strategists had expected Kind — who serves on the coveted Ways and Means panel — to run again.

Translation: Kind dumped the party with no notice.

President Trump carried Wisconsin 3 in both 2016 and 2020 and actually increased his margin of victory in the latter election, demonstrating that Kind's victory was due to the powerful advantage of incumbency.  The Democrats have no obvious successor waiting in the wings, while Van Orden already has made himself familiar to the electorate.

The GOP needs to turn over five House seats to gain the majority.  Kind has just all but gotten them closer to that.

Of course, the usual caveat of "don't get cocky" applies here.  But I don't think that will be a problem.  Republicans are itching for a chance to halt the Democrats' march toward the "fundamental transformation" promised by Barack Obama.

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