ABC News’ Dean Norland and Rick Klein report: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer today acknowledged that Tea Party energy is impacting the "thinking of members" who are mulling whether to stand for election again — but said that's not why Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., announced his retirement last week.
“Bart Stupak is a very courageous member. He wasn’t forced out by anybody. And he was substantially ahead in the polls,” Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters today.
“Do I think that [the] negative atmosphere that’s been created by the Tea Party and by others certainly goes into the thinking of members? I think it does. I think you have to honestly point out that it does,” Hoyer added. “I don’t think that was the determining factor with respect to Mr. Stupak, because again, he was in very good shape in the polls. It wasn’t a question of his losing his election.
“So that I think that other members clearly, you know, have in mind what’s happening in their districts, what’s happening in the country. But I think there are judgments that are going to be made and I would urge all the members that are here to run, to seek reelection. I think the Republicans still have more … retirees than we do. So if it was the atmosphere, you would think that the opposite would be the case. It’s not.”
“Mr. Stupak did not leave because of the Tea Party.”