Two veteran Democratic members of Congress have decided to retire at the end of the term, making it tougher for Democratic plans to recapture a House majority this fall.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a nine-term Democrat from New York, and Rep. Mike McIntyre, a nine-term Democrat from North Carolina, both announced today that they have had enough.
“I have decided not to seek re-election to the United States Congress in 2014,” McCarthy wrote in a statement to campaign supporters. ”As I plan for the next chapter of my life, I look forward to resuming my role as a citizen activist for the causes and principles that are so close to my heart.”
McCarthy, who has battled lung cancer since last summer and has not voted since last May, pledged to finish her term. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called her colleague “one of the most forceful and courageous voices in the House” and noted her efforts to toughen the nation’s gun laws.
“Few have worked harder than Congresswoman McCarthy to reduce the tragedy of gun violence in America, and her unwavering dedication to sparing other families the grief that touched her own never ceases to inspire,” Pelosi, D-Calif., stated upon learning of McCarthy’s intentions.
McCarthy, 70, first ran for Congress in 1996 after her husband was killed and her son badly wounded by a deranged gunman on the Long Island Rail Road.
McIntyre, a Blue Dog Democrat who had been a top target for Republicans in recent elections, creates a daunting challenge for Democrats hoping to retain the heavily Republican congressional district.
“Having answered the call entrusted through this partnership, I will be retiring from the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of this term,” McIntyre, 57, stated. “My family and I are ready for a new chapter and excited about new opportunities to continue helping North Carolina.”
With approval for Congress reaching record lows the past year, Rep. Greg Walden, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said McIntyre’s retirement “proves that Obamacare and its negative impact continues to burden Democrats in 2014 – even for Democrats who voted against the law like McIntyre.”
“You have to wonder who is next, especially among those Democrats in similar districts who backed ObamaCare and other reckless policies,” Walden added.
So far, nine House Republicans and three House Democrats have decided to retire at the end of this term. Eight additional Republicans and three more Democrats have decided to run for the Senate while another House Democrat, Mel Watt, was sworn in this week after a presidential appointment to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Democrats must produce a net-gain of at least 17 seats to win the House majority this fall.