Hoyer Confident Democrats Will Retain Majority

Posted December 3, 2009 at 9:10am

In the wake of two recent retirements by Blue Dogs whose districts will be difficult for Democrats to retain in 2010, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) expressed confidence Thursday that Democrats will still control the chamber in the next Congress.In a political briefing with reporters in his Capitol office, Hoyer dismissed Republican efforts to compare this election cycle to 1994, when the GOP picked up 52 House seats and seized control of Congress. One major difference, he said, is that Democrats are not complacent the way they were in that pivotal election cycle, when they had controlled the House for 40 years.“I don’t think we’re going to lose the majority,— Hoyer said. “I’m pretty confident of that. Our Members are not sleeping.—Hoyer also said he did not see any political significance in the announcements in the past few days that Reps. John Tanner (D-Tenn.) and Dennis Moore (D-Kan.) plan to retire at the end of their terms, though he conceded that both districts will be competitive next year. He said both Members had personal reasons for retiring unrelated to the renewed interest the Republicans had shown in knocking them off. Moore and Tanner are the first House Members to straight-out retire this cycle; 18 others — 12 Republicans and six Democrats — are seeking other offices.Asked whether he has set a deadline for his Democratic colleagues to tell him if they plan to retire, Hoyer replied, “I’m not in a position to tell Members when they should decide how to run their lives.—Hoyer confessed that “the number [of retirements] I’m comfortable with is zero. But we realize people have an ebb and flow to their lives that doesn’t have anything to do with what we think is the center of the universe, the House of Representatives.—But he expressed confidence that the number of additional retirements in his caucus would be very low, because “I don’t have a lot of Members talking to me and telling me that they’re thinking about it.—Hoyer said that if Democrats are able to help create jobs in the coming months and demonstrate their fiscal restraint, they should be able to limit their losses at the polls next year. But he said he is heartened on the retirement front because “I don’t have a lot of Members talking to me and telling me that they’re thinking about it.—