WASHINGTON — Rep. Dan Boren said he isn’t surprised that some of his moderate Democratic colleagues in the House are retiring. He expects more will choose to step aside in what is expected to be a tough political environment for his party.
"I think you’re probably going to see a few more (retirements), especially some of the older members who would rather leave on a high note,” said Boren, D-Muskogee.
"The political environment is definitely a contributing factor. Some may decide they want to do something else for a few years.”
But Boren, the only Democrat in Oklahoma’s congressional delegation, said he never considered leaving the House and that he’s ready to battle to keep his seat.
"I’m not going to take anything for granted at all — at all,” he said in an interview. "I’m going to be in all 25 counties (in his district) next year multiple times.”
Already, four Democrats considered centrists have announced that they won’t run for re-election next year; among those four are three members of the Blue Dog coalition, a group of moderates to which Boren belongs. A total of 11 Democrats have said they won’t run again, and a freshman House member from Alabama — who was also a member of the Blue Dog group — announced last week that he was changing parties from Democrat to Republican.
Democrats now hold a 257-178 advantage in the House. The party that holds the White House, as the Democrats do, normally loses seats in the mid-term elections. High unemployment and issues such as health insurance reform and the national debt are expected to add to the Democrats’ problems next year.
But several Republicans have also announced retirements, and Democrats have more money to spend on races.
Boren, whose eastern Oklahoma seat has already drawn interest from some Republicans, said he saw this year coming "from a long way away.”
In fact, Boren said in 2008 that one reason he was raising so much money for his campaign that year was to be prepared for 2010.
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