House Democrats exit list grows to 29 as longtime Rep. Jim Cooper of T…

House Democrats exit list grows to 29 as longtime Rep. Jim Cooper of T…




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Longtime Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee on Tuesday announced that he’ll retire at the end of his current term, becoming the latest in a large list of House Democrats not seeking reelection in November’s midterms.

Democrats hope to retain their razor-thin majority in the chamber surveys, though history shows they confront long odds.

Cooper, the dean of Tennessee’s congressional delegation and a member of the Democrats’ Blue Dog Coalition of moderate representatives, has served in Congress since 1983. He becomes the 29th House Democrat this cycle to announce they’ll retire or seek a different office in this year’s elections. Fourteen House Republicans are either retiring or running for a different office.

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“Today I am announcing that I will not run for re-election to Congress. After 32 years in office, I will be leaving Congress next year,” Cooper wrote on Twitter. “I cannot thank the people of Nashville enough. You backed me more than almost anyone in Tennessee history.”

Cooper’s announcement comes after the GOP-dominated Tennessee legislature voted to severely alter his Nashville-based district, taking a blue-leaning seat and dividing it among three districts, The congressman cited redistricting as a meaningful reason for his decision.

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“Despite my strength at the surveys, I could not stop the General Assembly from dismembering Nashville. No one tried harder to keep our city whole. I explored every possible way, including lawsuits, to stop the gerrymandering and to win one of the three new congressional districts that now divide Nashville,” Cooper emphasized in a statement he posted on social media.

The congressman additional that “there’s no way, at the minimum for me in this election cycle, but there may be a path for other worthy candidates. I am announcing my decision promptly so that others have more time to campaign.”

Rep. Jim Cooper speaks at the The Recording Academy District Advocate Day at Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum on October 19, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Jason Davis/WireImage for The Recording Academy ) (The Recording Academy)

Democrats hope to defend their razor-thin majority in the House in the midterms, amid a rough political climate. The GOP needs a net gain of just five seats in the 435-member chamber next year to regain the House majority it lost to the Democrats in the 2018 elections.

MCCARTHY LIKENS 2022 MIDTERMS TO ‘100-YEAR STORM’

Republicans have history on their side heading into the midterms. On average, the party that wins the White House in a presidential election loses more than 25 House seats in the ensuing midterm election. 

And major setbacks the past two months for President Biden and congressional Democrats in their push to pass sweeping social spending and election reform bills, along with the five-month downward spiral of the president’s poll numbers, is also doing House Democrats no favors as they try to keep the majority in November.

House retirements are often seen as an early barometer of things to come in the midterms. The last time the House flipped, amid a blue wave in the 2018 midterms, there were 23 GOP retirements compared to just 10 among House Democrats. 

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Camille Gallo, a spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee, told Fox News that the “Democrats’ retirement crisis shows no signs of slowing down.”

And Gallo charged that “no one wants to run on Democrats’ extreme agenda of violent crime, open borders, and skyrocketing prices.”

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