Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois has joined the growing list of veteran Democrats not running for re-election this year.
Rush, 75, was first elected in 1992 and enjoyed such solid standing in his district that in 2000 he defeated future President Barack Obama in a Democratic primary for the seat.
Rush has become the 24th House Democrat to retire, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Rush, a former Black Panther, said he wants to retire so his grandchildren can know him as a person, not just a name.
“I don’t want my grandchildren … to know me from a television news clip or something they read in a newspaper,” Rush said. “I want them to know me on an intimate level, know something about me, and I want to know something about them. I don’t want to be a historical figure to my grandchildren.”
Ratings from a nonpartisan election handicapper indicate that Republicans have a distinct advantage when it comes to winning control of the House in next year's midterm elections.
— Newsmax (@newsmax) December 30, 2021
NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson recently said that the Democratic plight as the 2022 elections approach is unique.
“The mood is bad. I haven’t ever covered a midterm election cycle when one party is as pessimistic about their prospects as Democrats are today or that the other party, the out party, is as optimistic about their prospects as Republicans are about winning back the House,” she said, according to NPR.
Liasson noted “the president’s low approval ratings” and “the persistence of the pandemic” as reasons Democrats have fallen out of favor.
Fox News noted that retirements are often seen as an indication of what parties expect in the upcoming election. In 2018, when Democratic regained the House, 23 Republican members of the House retired.
“Only members themselves know why they decide to retire. But if there’s an imbalance of retirements toward one party or another, it sometimes can tell us something about what the party with a lot of retirees thinks might happen in the midterms,” Kyle Kondik, the managing editor of the political handicapper Sabato’s Crystal Ball, said, according to Fox News.
Democrats reeling year before midterm elections – here's how Republicans stay on top and win big in 2022https://t.co/bRIm0eWZoa
— Caroliine0071 (@CarolineForehan) January 3, 2022
“House Republicans are targeting 70 Democrat-held seats,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a recent fund-raising email.
“We are going to take back the largest House majority in a decade,” he wrote.
“In a cycle like this, no Democrat is safe,” National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Emmer said.
“Voters are rejecting Democrat policies that have caused massive price increases, opened our borders, and spurred a nationwide crime wave,” he said.