With Rep. Mike Rogers‘s (R-MI) Friday retirement announcement, his state’s House delegation continues to bleed seniority: By next year, there will be at most 6 of 14 Michiganders with more than two terms of House experience. It’s one of many states feeling a recent loss of congressional clout.
— California’s losses have been the most dramatic. Three Golden State committee chairs or ranking members (Democrats Henry Waxman and George Miller and Republican Buck McKeon) are retiring at the end of the year. In 2012, the state lost another 4 committee chairs and ranking members. That’s at least 7 in two years; 27 states have entire delegations smaller than that. Overall, in that time, 21 California House members totaling over 200 terms of service have retired or been defeated.
— Of course, California also has a large cast of players remaining, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and Democratic Caucus chair Xavier Becerra. Compare that to the wholesale turnover in Arkansas where, if Rep. Tom Cotton (R) beats Sen. Mark Pryor (D), all of the state’s six members (4 House, 2 Senate) will have been elected since 2010.
— Like Arkansas, West Virginia is another state in transition away from Democrats that’s close to basically starting over on congressional seniority, especially if Rep. Nick Rahall‘s (D) tough race in WV-03 ends in a loss. Meanwhile, Hawaii went from 72 years of combined Senate seniority in 2012 to zero in 2013 and has one first-term and one second-term House member.
Some states are feeling it more than others, but this trend is widespread. At this point, nearly 40% of the House and one-third of the Senate was elected in 2010 or later. With retirements, the House number will climb to at least 45% in 2014 — and that’s before factoring in primary and general election losses. This is an era of major change in Congress.
— Scott Bland
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