Axios calls it "a big story that could get lost in the blizzard" of Tuesday's elections: Two longtime GOP lawmakers announced their retirements Tuesday from the House of Representatives, adding to the growing list of Republicans electing to leave Capitol Hill under the Trump administration rather than face voters in next year's midterm elections. Twelve-term Rep. Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey declared in a statement that "our nation is now consumed by increasing political polarization" and "there is no longer middle ground." Several hours later, seven-term Rep. Ted Poe of Texas, a conservative, announced that he too plans to retire rather than seek re-election, in part to spend more time with his dozen grandkids, all born since he entered office in 2005.
The 69-year-old's district covers parts of Houston and northern suburbs and is solidly Republican; it would be a struggle for Democrats to win. But 71-year-old LoBiondo's seat will be ripe for the picking, and the New York Times reports Democrats had already pegged it as a possible top priority. By the Times' count, LoBiondo and Poe bring the list of House Republicans who have left office or declared their intention to leave over the past year to 29, compared to seven Democrats. Although only a handful of the GOP seats opening up are highly competitive for the Democrats, the AP reports the many retirements nonetheless are adding up to an increasingly rosy scenario for Democrats, who must pick up two dozen seats to win back the House.