'08 Looking Tougher for GOP

As retirements mount, prospects of congressional comeback get slimmer
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2007 7:47 PM CST
Former House Speaker, Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., walks through Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007, after delivering a speech on the House floor where he announced...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A spate of retirements has made it much trickier for the GOP to bounce back from congressional losses in 2008, reports the Washington Post. Trent Lott's announcement yesterday means that 6 GOP senators and 17 House members are retiring, and many of their seats face serious Democratic challenges. The few retirements on the Democratic side are in non-competitive districts, the Post notes.

A common perception is that the rash of retirements is related to the GOP's new minority status, but Republican operatives insist it's just bad timing. "I don't hear a drumbeat that we're not effective and I don't like it here anymore," says a party leader. Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, says the retirements "have little meaning" and predicts the party can make substantial gains.