- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The National Republican Congressional Committee expanded its list of Democratic lawmakers who are expected to vacate their seats next year, for a total of 40 Democrats likely to call it quits in Congress.

The NRCC, which is the House Republican campaign arm, added 13 Democratic districts to its initial “Exit list” of 27 that was released in March. The political outlook for House Democrats has dimmed dramatically since March, with many fearing they will be in the minority in 2023.

The extra lawmakers on the NRCC’s list are targeted by the GOP in a new Thanksgiving attack ad focused on rising inflation describing how expensive the holiday has become.  

 “This November, from the people who brought you the most expensive 4th of July in history, the sequel is even worse,” the ad’s voiceover begins. 

“This Thanksgiving, brace yourself for the highest grocery tab you’ve had in decades,” a TV news reporter can be heard saying in the ad. 

“Turkey rolls, apple pie, gas. Democrats, reckless spending has made everything cost more,” the voiceover says, asking viewers to tell the targeted Democratic lawmaker, “We can’t afford this.”

Democratic lawmakers targeted in the ad are Tom O’Halleran of Arizona,  Jim Costa of California,  Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, Stephanie Murphy of Florida, Sanford Bishop of Georgia, Cindy Axne of Iowa, Dan Kildee of Michigan, Chris Pappas of New Hampshire, Tom Malinowski of New Jersey, Dina Titus of Nevada and Tom Suozzi of New York.

Of the 27 original Democrats on the NRCC list, eight announced they were retiring or running for another office. One of the lawmakers, Texas Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, moved to a safer district following congressional redistricting in his state.

The Exit List includes both veteran and relatively new lawmakers, and Democrats running in safe and competitive districts. The names include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, Rep. Cindy Axne of Iowa, and Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida.

Other new names added to the NRCC exit list include Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, Rep. Sanford Bishop of Georgia, Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, Rep. Tom Suozzi of New York, Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio and Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee.

Not every Democratic lawmaker who previously announced they will vacate their seats after this Congress was on the NRCC’s initial exit list. Since last Friday, seventeen House Democrats announced they will not return to Congress after the midterm elections compared to 11 House Republicans. 

The release of the list follows the retirement announcements late last week by veteran Democratic Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas and G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina.

“Every House Democrat has a choice to make over the Thanksgiving holiday: retire or lose. So far 17 Democrats have made the smart choice to quit,” NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer said in a statement.

The DCCC says House Democrats had “even fewer retirements than Republicans faced at this point in the last midterm cycle, as well as a strong record of delivering popular results that they’re going to run on in 2022.”

“Incumbent or not, we’re going to make the case to voters that while Democrats have passed legislation that will significantly lower costs for workers and middle class families, extremist Republicans have spent the last year promoting junk science that’s prolonged the pandemic and voting to block legislation that will reduce inflation,” DCCC Spokesperson Nebeyatt Betre told The Washington Times in an e-mail statement.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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