Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby has announced that he will retire next year, instead of re-electing himself to the Senate for the seventh six-year term. He explained, “Everything has a season.”
Shelby’s retirement “season” comes when the GOP tries to regain the majority of the Senate in the mid-2022 term that it has just lost in the 2020 election cycle. With the new announcement, Senate Republicans are now defending four open seats, including two in highly competitive battlefield states.
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In addition to Shelby, North Carolina GOP sensor Richard Burr, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey and Ohio’s Rob Portman will step down after 2022 instead of looking for another seat in the Senate.
“Retirement is a natural event for both parties.” Brian Walsh, former communications director for NRSC and former senior adviser to GOP senator in Texas, told Fox News.
And veteran GOP strategist and former communications director of the Republican National Commission, Doug Heye, said, “I think it’s just time for a lot of them.”
Heye noted that for some lawmakers, it was just “he’s been there for a long, long time. He’s just the reality of where they are and the system that’s up in the Senate every two years.”
This seems to be the case with Shelby, who is 86 years old.
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Perhaps this could be the case with 87-year-old Chuck Grassley of the Iowa GOP Senate, another member of the Republican Old Guard who has so far remained a mom to whether he will run for the eighth term in 2022.
Grassley told Iowa reporters last week that any decision would “say several weeks off.”
“Shelby is approaching 90, so it’s no surprise. It would be similar for Grassley to decide to retire,” a GOP strategist working for Senate competitions told Fox News.
But for Portman and Burr, 65, and Toomey, 59, age was probably not the deciding factor.
“Of course, Toomey and Burr’s resignation is not ideal, but to be honest, I don’t think any of them would serve more than two or three, regardless of who was in the White House and what the political environment was,” said the strategist, who asked for anonymity in freer speech. in order to.
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Portman’s latest news in 2022 was more of a surprise.
And his announcement came with the end of the Republican Party’s power in the White House, as well as in both houses of Congress. The GOP is at a crossroads – it will return to its conservative roots, or it will remain the populist party that President Trump then shaped and ruled for four years. The current president has vowed to continue to be extremely influential in the GOP, and polls show Trump remains very popular with Republican voters.
Pointing to the 2022 medium term, where the GOP only needs to turn over a seat held by Democrats to regain a majority, Walsh stressed that retirements are not always bad.
“After President Obama took office in 2009, he had 12 Senate retirees – six in each party – and Republicans still won seven seats in the 2010 election,” said Walsh, a veteran of several senate, congressional and governing campaigns.
But he stressed that “although the quality of the candidate is critical, and where open seats are a particular problem for Republicans, it was that polarizing candidates such as Alabama Roy Moore or Delaware Christine O’Donnell were nominated who could not be elected to a general So, if Republican voters are in a position to win these seats and regain the Senate in 2022, they need to make sure they nominate strong candidates who are highly attractive. “
Another two-term senator from the Republican Senate, Ron Johnson, Wisconsin, also thinks of retirement in 2022 rather than his re-election.
Johnson, who was first elected to the Senate in the 2010 Tea Party wave and who has become one of Trump’s main loyalists and supporters in recent years, is likely to face a challenging re-election on a fierce battlefield that President Biden has narrowly changed from red to blue. last November.