McKeon is seen, at least by Democrats, as one of the old guard who could be on the way out this cycle.
But in private conversations, Capitol Hill sources on both sides caution that she may not return because of a family situation. She prematurely gave birth in July to a daughter, Abigail Rose, who faces ongoing health complications. Herrera Beutler and her husband brought the baby home last week in what sources close to her say is a promising sign for the baby’s health.
Recently, the Clark County Columbian newspaper reported that Herrera Beutler “plans to run for re-election.” Her spokesman reiterated her intent to run in a Dec. 13 email to CQ Roll Call. The Washington state filing deadline is in May.
The Old Guard
They are the members who have seen it all, and after serving through several presidential administrations, they’re ready to leave. Competitive races often follow when these longtime members are off the ballot.
It’s the reason Democrats often talk up 75-year-old Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., as one of the old guard who could be on the way out this cycle. A couple of local Republican officials have announced campaigns for McKeon’s seat contingent on his departure, which he must decide on by the state’s March filing deadline.
Every cycle, Republicans mention Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-N.Y., as a potential retiree. But New York Democratic sources say the 84-year-old’s health is better than it has been in years and do not anticipate a retirement.
Slaughter represents a generation of Democrats that spent 12 years in the minority after the 1994 Republican revolution.
Many of her old guard colleagues look at the gerrymandered House map and fear Democrats won’t be able to take control until after the next redistricting in 2022.
To be sure, age does not serve as a retirement indicator for every member. Most operatives interviewed for this story assume 83-year-old Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y. and 90-year-old Rep. Ralph M. Hall, R-Texas, will not leave Congress of their own will.
In an email to supporters this week, Rangel suggested that he could consider retirement. Soon after, the New York Daily News reported that he plans to announce his re-election campaign Thursday.
The Tired Young Bucks
Democrats hope Reps. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., and Jon Runyan, R-N.J., have started a trend. They are leaving Congress after just two terms, frustrated with their Capitol Hill experiences.
Griffin, 45, and Runyan, 40, won in the 2010 GOP wave. Open-seat races in their districts give Democrats more pickup opportunities in 2014.
But so far, it’s unclear — and unpredictable — if any more tired young bucks are ready to leave so soon.
House operatives are closely monitoring California for retirements this cycle and beyond.
The Golden State used to be notorious for its incumbent retention, thanks to gerrymandering. But a new redistricting system and “top two” primary setup mean hardly anyone is safe.