House Democrats have an upward climb to keep control of the House in next year’s midterm elections — especially as 21 House Democrats have announced they will not seek reelection next year. Democrats currently control the House with a 221-213 majority with one vacancy — Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) died in April.
On Monday, Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) became the latest Democrat to announce she would not run for reelection. Murphy is a key centrist in the House and sits on the special House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Many of those leaving the House are among the strongest fundraisers in the Democratic caucus.
House Democrats in the 2020 election cycle raised an average of $2.8 million. That was about $300,000 more than the average for House Republicans. Murphy brought in more than $3 million in her 2020 reelection bid, and she already raised $1.3 million in the 2022 election cycle. In her Monday announcement, Murphy didn’t rule out running for office in the future. And if she does, her campaign committee will still have nearly $2 million of cash on hand.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), the current chair of the House Transportation Committee announced his retirement earlier this month after 35 years in the House. In his most recent election, DeFazio raised nearly $5.1 million against his Republican opponent, veteran Alek Skarlatos, who announced in May he would run again for the seat.
Historically, DeFazio has had strong support from transportation unions and the air transportation industry. Over his career, the Oregon congressman received more than $1.2 million and $960,000 from the unions and industry, respectively.
Of course, not all the House Democrats who have announced they won’t seek reelection are retiring from politics. Reps. Val Demings (D-Fla.), Charlie Crist (D-Fla), Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Anthony Brown (D-Md.), Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Conor Lamb (D-Penn.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) are all running for either state or local office, or for the Senate.
Lamb, who was first elected to the House in 2018, was the highest fundraiser in the 2020 cycle of the eight House members now seeking a different office. The Pennsylvania congressman brought in nearly $4.1 million in his 2020 reelection, and has already raised more than $2.6 million in his 2022 senatorial bid. Lamb garnered national attention during his 2018 race when then-former Vice President Joe Biden endorsed him in Pennsylvania.
Demings, Ryan and Welch — the other three House members running for Senate — brought in more conservative totals in their respective 2020 reelection bids. The Ohio congressman raised nearly $2 million, while Demings raised about $1.9 million and Welch brought in about $847,000.
While some of those leaving the House are seeking a different office, House Democrats are also losing members who fear the effects of redistricting will make it impossible for them to win in 2022.
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), a former head of the Congressional Black Caucus, announced his retirement in November. Butterfield was first elected in 2004. The North Carolina congressman called the redistricting process in his home state “racially gerrymandered.”
“The map that was recently enacted by the Legislature is a partisan map. It’s racially gerrymandered. It will disadvantage African-American communities all across the first Congressional district,” Butterfield said in his retirement announcement.
Butterfield raised more than $1 million in his 2020 reelection.
Some of the largest industries and interest groups that donated to Butterfield over his career include the pharmaceutical and health care industries and health professionals, with donations close to $591,000 and $450,000, respectively.
Just 12 House Republicans have announced they wouldn’t seek reelection in 2022. Of those 12, four are running for Senate: Reps. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Billy Long (R-Mo.) and Ted Budd (R-N.C.). Three retiring House Republicans are running for statewide office: Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) is running for governor, while Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) is running for Georgia secretary of state and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) is running for Texas attorney general.