- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House unveils bill to speed deportations of illegal immigrant children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
- Hillary: ‘dead broke’ comment was ‘inartful,’ but insists it was ‘accurate’
- Fla. mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to walk to park alone
- Appeals court upholds Obamacare tax as constitutional
- As fighting in Gaza rages on, Kerry battles hapless bumbler perception
- New Englander Scott Brown turns his gaze to the U.S. border crisis
- Toronto’s Rob Ford takes rehabbed self to kids’ playground for political props
House retirements creating pickup opportunities for Democrats and Republicans
Question of the Day
Two senior House lawmakers — one Democrat and one Republican — announced they won’t seek re-election next year, opening up opportunities for both parties to win those seats and signaling that the 2014 elections could be more competitive than analysts had predicted.
GOPRep. Frank R. Wolf of Virginia will end a career on Capitol Hill that has stretched for more than three decades in the ever-changing Northern Virginia region, and Rep. Jim Matheson, the Utah congressional delegation’s lone Democrat, will step down after seven terms.
Mr. Wolf said in a statement that he plans to focus future work on human rights and religious freedom both at home and abroad, as well as “matters of the culture and the American family.”
Mr. Matheson, a member of the ever-dwindling Blue Dog Coalition of moderate Democrats in the House, said in a statement posted on his Facebook page that while it’s been a privilege to serve, his time in Congress “should not be the sum total of my service” and that while his time in the House would soon end, “my duty to our state and our country will undoubtedly continue.”
The announcements open up opportunities for both parties. Mr. Wolf’s seat has changed over the years as the region has grown, moving further north and west. He won re-election last year with 58 percent of the vote, though Virginia’s political trends suggest that the seat could be competitive next year.
“Sabato’s Crystal Ball,” a political newsletter run by the University of Virginia professor Larry J. Sabato, moved VA-10 from “Likely Republican” to “toss-up” after Mr. Wolf’s Tuesday announcement, and UT-4 from “Leans Democratic” to “Likely Republican” after Mr. Matheson’s announcement.
“Looking ahead to 2014, Virginia Republicans’ track record of nominating the most extreme candidate means they won’t find a centrist to fill Frank Wolf’s shoes in this toss-up district, but they will choose a candidate who will look at lot like the radicals in this Republican Congress,” said Kelly Ward, the executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).
But Republicans felt bullish about their prospects out west, citing Obamacare as a major factor.
“This is a warning signal to Democrats coast to coast,” said Rep. Greg Walden, Oregon Republican and chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). “Not only will this announcement allow Republicans to focus our energy and resources on defeating other vulnerable Democrats, but it also proves that Obamacare has become a total nightmare for any Democrat running in 2014.”
Mia Love, a rising star in the Republican Party who narrowly lost to Mr. Matheson in 2012, had already announced her intention to run again next year. Ms. Love, the mayor of Saratoga Springs, would be the first black female Republican in the House of Representatives if she wins.
In Virginia, Fairfax County Supervisor John W. Foust of Dranesville recently announced his intention to run against Mr. Wolf, becoming by far the biggest Democratic name to jump into the race.
Del. Barbara Comstock, Fairfax Republican, used to work for Mr. Wolf on Capitol Hill and has been frequently mentioned as a potential successor.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Wilder, Cuccinelli may be called as witnesses in McDonnell trial
- Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's trial to test definitions of political corruption
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez: Senate Dems wary of immigration politics
- Mich. congressman returns Commerce award after group endorses opponent
- Rep. Henry Cuellar on border crisis: 'Playing defense on the one-yard line'
Latest Blog Entries
- Dick Cheney: Hillary Clinton 'clearly bears responsibility' on Benghazi
- Holder vows to press ahead on gun control fight
- Seven of 10 prefer that Obama work with Congress, not go around it: Poll
- Schumer: Tea party hasn't let Obama put his policies into effect
- GOP official: Black not running for Wolf's House seat
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- GOP Senate candidate: Obama needs to visit Central America
- Hillary Clinton: I was indeed 'dead broke,' but shouldn't have said so
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Appeals court upholds Obamacare tax as constitutional
- Rush Limbaugh: 'There is no journalism anymore'
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world