The reason why political parties are so concerned about retiring representatives is because they will lose power through the loss of seniority and incumbency.
Voters in the USA are creatures of habit more than thoughtfulness when it comes to selecting and electing candidates. They get what they think is a good one, and they stick with it, forever it seems.
The question is, do we want lifer politicians in office? Does the seniority system best serve Americans?
I have written that it isn’t so much a question of the age of politicians as it is duration in office. Ronald Reagan was an old candidate, for instance. He was successful in private life before running for public office. He had a history of political activism, however, and his history was more bipartisan than most with his having sided with unions and Democrats before switching to Republicans.
Our Founding Fathers were quite accomplished by they time they considered public office. Some were reluctant to serve as was George Washington. Others, like the Adams’ family, made a career of politics and government employment.
The Bushes are in and out of politics and business as were the Rockefellers and the Kennedys.
Political parties today would do well to consider collaborating with voters to produce a new crop of representatives. I created possible scenarios for what to consider in selecting candidates and will dig that out again for another article on the subject. Now is the season to consider and to contemplate and groom the future.
“Retirement watch: Will they stay or will they go?
By MANU RAJU | 11/26/12 6:30 PM EST
Jay Rockefeller won’t talk about it. Neither will fellow Democrats Tom Harkin, Carl Levin, Tim
Johnson and Frank Lautenberg.
None of these senior senators will give a definitive answer about whether they’re running for reelection in 2014.
“I’m very definitely going to make a statement about that — but not yet,” the 75-year-old Rockefeller, who saw a formidable Republican opponent enter his race Monday, told POLITICO. “Not until we get some other things set.”
The retirement watch is in full swing on Capitol Hill as veteran senators weigh whether to endure another reelection grind, the endless demands for fundraising and the barrage of personal attacks — all to serve another six years in a body known for its constant gridlock. On the Democratic side, the concern over retirements is more acute — the senators most likely to leave come from red states like West Virginia and South Dakota or swing states like Iowa. On the Republican side, perhaps the most likely retirement centers on Thad Cochran, who presumably would be replaced by another GOP senator in deep-red Mississippi.
And just like in 2012, Democrats face an unfavorable electoral map, having to defend 20 seats to 13 for the GOP in a midterm election historically difficult for the party that controls the White House.
“Iowa is always a competitive state,” Harkin said of the state he’s represented since 1985. “It’s about right down the middle 50-50.”
Asked about 2014, the 73-year-old Harkin noted he had hired an Internet fundraiser, but punted on his plans: “I’ve got a lot of other things on my mind right now; there will be time for that later.”
But not a whole lot of time.
Just like in 2012, Democratic leaders want the retirement decisions to come early — probably by the middle of next year — giving them plenty of time to recruit a new candidate, just as they did this past election cycle when seven Democrats retired.
The only Democratic-held seat the party lost in 2012 — in Nebraska — came after Sen. Ben Nelson announced in late December 2011 that he’d forgo a bid for a third term. Similarly, in the 2010 election cycle, late retirement announcements by Sens. Evan Bayh of Indiana and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota preceded the party’s losses in those two states.
The same goes for the GOP. It was the late retirement of Maine’s Olympia Snowe, who shocked her party’s leaders in February, that led to the loss of the party’s Senate seat. And even though just three Republican senators announced their plans to quit at year’s end, the party ended up dropping two seats in the chamber, now relegated to seeing Democrats hold a 55-45 majority for the next two years.
Besides Cochran, most of the 13 Republican senators up for reelection are more firmly in the “yes” column to run again — for now.
“I’m running hard,” said Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi, dismissing speculation he’d quit.
“He is running,” a spokeswoman to Sen. Pat Roberts said of the Kansas Republican.
Cochran, the powerful Mississippi appropriator who has served in the body since 1978, said it’s “too early to decide.”
“I’m not weighing anything,” Cochran said when asked about the factors he’s considering. “I’m serving to the best of my ability.”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/84246.html#ixzz2DQRISiMS