Through the first ten months of the year, 17 House Republicans have announced they will not seek reelection next year and another three resigned from their posts early. As Republicans announced their exits, media outlets were quick to post stories about Republican “struggles” with the “retirement wave.” These new open seats, the narrative suggests, are prime pick up opportunities for Democrats as they look to expand their majority in 2020.
A dive into exactly who is retiring, however, paints a different picture. While it’s true that more Republicans are retiring than Democrats, the vast majority of those Representatives hail from conservative districts. Of the 20 retirements/resignations the GOP is facing, only one seat has a PVI of R+5 or less. In fact, the average PVI of all the open Republican districts in 2020 is R+15.
Open seats present a challenge, as the retiring member’s party must identify and recruit a new candidate to run and then educate the district about who they are. However, those challenges also exist for the opposing party. Democrats may want the public to believe that the spate of GOP retirements presents a big opportunity for them in 2020, but the fundamentals of the up-for-grab Districts still favor Republicans.
Here is the current breakdown of open House seats in 2020:
Open Seats in November 2020: 17 GOP / 5 Dem (22 Total)
|Republican:: Rob Woodall||GA-07||R+9||Retiring|
|Republican:: Rob Bishop||UT-01||R+26||Retiring|
|Republican:: Susan Brooks||IN-05||R+9||Retiring|
|Republican:: Bradley Byrne||AL-01||R+15||Running for U.S. Senate|
|Republican:: Greg Gianforte||MT-AL||R+11||Running for Governor|
|Democrat:: Jose Serrano||NY-15||D+44||Retiring|
|Democrat:: Dave Loebsack||IA-02||D+1||Retiring|
|Democrat:: Ben Ray Lujan||NM-03||D+8||Running For U.S. Senate|
|Republican:: Paul Mitchell||MI-10||R+13||Retiring|
|Republican:: Mike Conaway||TX-11||R+32||Retiring|
|Republican:: Pete Olson||TX-22||R+10||Retiring|
|Republican:: Will Hurd||TX-23||R+1||Retiring|
|Republican:: Kenny Marchant||TX-24||R+9||Retiring|
|Republican:: Martha Roby||AL-02||R+16||Retiring|
|Republican:: John Shimkus||IL-15||R+21||Retiring|
|Republican:: Bill Flores||TX-17||R+21||Retiring|
|Democrat:: Susan Davis||CA-53||D+14||Retiring|
|Republican:: Jim Sensenbrenner||WI-05||R+13||Retiring|
|Republican:: Paul Cook||CA-08||R+9||Retiring|
|Republican:: Roger Marshall||KS-01||R+24||Running for U.S. Senate|
|Democrat:: Joe Kennedy||MA-04||D+9||Running for U.S. Senate|
|Republican:: Mac Thornberry||TX-13||R+33||Retiring|
|Democrat:: Nita Lowey||NY-17||D+7||Retiring|
|Republican:: Francis Rooney||FL-19||R+13||Retiring|
|Republican:: Greg Walden||OR-02||R+11||Retiring|
|Democrat:: Pete Visclosky||IN-01||D+8||Retiring|
NOTE: Does not include special elections for three congressmen who resigned early: Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA-12), Sean Duffy (R-WI-07), and Chris Collins (R-NY-27). Also does not include Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC-03), who passed away in February 2019.