Watching for longtime lawmaker retirements is usually a good indication of how Washington, D.C. thinks the midterm elections will turn out. That is even more apparent when it jeopardizes the balance of power.
Five-term Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) announced that she won’t seek re-election in 2022, according to the Washington Times. This could jeopardize the narrow margin Democrats currently have in the House of Representatives.
“Serving Arizonans has been my absolute honor and joy, but after much consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2022,” the 70-year-old congresswoman said Friday in a statement. “I will continue the good fight through this Congress, and when the term is up, I will hand over the baton.”
Currently, the House is split 220-211 in favor of Democrats. Kirkpatrick’s retirement could mean her seat flips Republican, although the once-per-decade redistricting happening this year is expected to add a 10th district to the state could impact the balance as well.
Kirkpatrick is currently serving in the 2nd District and touted her 2010 vote for the Affordable Care Act. However, she lost that year to Republican Paul Gosar largely because of that vote and was unsuccessful in her Senate bid to unseat deceased Sen. John McCain.
The congresswoman and former attorney beat her Republican challenger Brandon Marlin by almost 40,000 votes in 2020. Earlier in the year, Kirkpatrick took a leave of absence to receive treatment for alcoholism after she had a fall that she credited for “a little bit of a wake-up call.” However, she told the media that it had nothing to do with her retirement announcement.
While retirements are occurring on both sides of the political aisle, Republicans seem to be cleaning house of all of their establishment deadwood. The ones on their way out are those who broke with former President Donald Trump, arguably the most popular and transformation Republican figure since Ronald Reagan.
Unfortunately for Democrats, their party is in danger of tipping radically left which could drive moderate voters out of the parties. If more Democrats start to follow suit in retirements, it could be a solid indication that President Joe Biden’s administration is leaning further left — and away from most Americans.