Another Democrat Announces Retirement: Control of House in Play
Democrats scramble as another Democrat announces his retirment. Control of the House is now in play.
Democrats were dealt a major blow this week as congressman David Obey, the Chairman of the House Appropriation Committee, announced Wednesday that he won’t seek reelection in November, giving into weariness at 71 and a difficult political landscape at home after four decades in Congress. Obey’s announcement marks the end of an era of one of the last major leaders of the 1970s reform movement that reshaped the House of Representatives.
“I’m bone tired,” he told reporters. “I am ready to turn the page, and frankly, I think that my district is ready for someone new to make a fresh start.”
Colleagues were caught off guard, since a chairman of such power rarely walks away without a fight. Obey quickly vowed that he will continue to use his gavel to the end — and with it the leverage he holds over the administration’s agenda.
Despite poor polls at home, Obey insisted he could still win reelection in November. But he admitted he feared another reapportionment fight in the next Congress and believed the nation had turned against the aggressive public spending that has been his trademark.
The combination of Obey’s retirement and John Murtha’s death means a major change in the hierarchy of the appropriations panel itself. A lot will depend on the outcome of the 2010 Midterm Elections and whether or not the Democrats will maintain control of the House or not.
Obey’s Retirement also provides another opportunity for Republicans. Democrats will now be forced to defend what they had originally thought would be a “Safe” seat. If current polling holds, and a pick up of Obey’s seat, Republicans stand a good chance of taking back the House in November.