2 more House Democrats retiring, underscoring 2022 obstacles

House Retirements

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Two longtime Democratic congressmen with a combined six decades of experience announced Monday that they plan to retire at the end of their terms, another worrying sign for the party's uphill climb to keep control of the House in next year's midterm elections.

Rep. David Price, 81, the longest-serving member of North Carolina's congressional delegation, and Rep. Mike Doyle, 68, the longest-serving member of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation, said they will not seek re-election next year.

The news comes just days after Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky, the influential chair of the House Budget Committee, announced his own decision to retire, bringing to a dozen the total number of House Democrats who have revealed plans to retire or seek other office.

While all three men cited various motivations — the realities of redistricting and a desire to spend more time with their families among them — the decisions underscore the challenges Democrats face as they try to hang on to their razor-thin majorities in both chambers of Congress. The party that wins the White House typically loses congressional seats in the following midterm elections, and more members are expected to depart as they contend with the reality that they could find themselves in the minority.

But that didn't seem to be the case with Monday's departures.

“I believe the time has come to pass the torch to the next generation," Doyle said at a news conference at his Pittsburgh office.

In addition to passing the torch, he said the COVID-19 pandemic had accelerated his thinking about retiring with his wife. And he noted that redistricting will likely bring substantial change to his district’s boundaries, most likely pushing it outside Allegheny County in the southwestern part of the state.

“You know, this is going to be a brand-new district, new people, new counties maybe, and a good starting point for a new member of Congress to get acclimated in that district and go from there," he said.

Doyle was first elected in 1994 in a district that currently includes all of Pittsburgh and some of its increasingly liberal-leaning suburbs. He has easily fended off primary challenges from the left while handily winning re-election against token Republican opposition, and he wasn't seen as vulnerable.

“I just think he felt it was time,” Doyle’s former campaign strategist, Mike Mikus, said of the decision.

In North Carolina, Price has represented the 4th Congressional District in the Raleigh-Durham area for