Yet another House Republican unexpectedly retires in blue-trending district

We hadn't seen a shocking House retirement for quite a while, but just as Republicans were starting to breath a little easier one of their most marginal seat just opened up. Rep. Jim Walsh of NY-25 announced he was retiring, telling teh Syracuse Post-Standard that "It's time to go."

Walsh has been in the House for 20 years now, but he barely survived his race in 2006. He won against Democrat Dan Maffei 51% to 49%, a difference of less than 4,000 votes. Republicans found themselves marginalized throughout the Empire State that fall and Maffei was back for a rematch this year.

With Walsh out of the race, Democrats have one of their best pick-up opportunity. NY-25 is one of the 8 remaining Republican-held districts that Kerry carried in 2004. Because of the opportunity the seat represents, other Democrats could jump in the race and challenge Maffei's hold on the nomination, starting with the Syracuse of Mayor Matt Driscoll. Republicans have a long list of candidates who could jump, mostly county executives and legislators so let's wait a little to see how the field plays out.

Until the candidates emerge, the Democrats have to be given an edge given the district's Democratic tilt and the Northeast's falling in the blue column in 2006. Also, this is the kind of district that the RNCC will not necessarily defend that intensely. They have plenty of very competitive seats to defend, and much less money than the DCCC. If they see that they are going down in NY-25, they will probably not invest too much in a race in which the Democratic candidate could also benefit from presidential coattails.

This also reminds us that retirement season is still not over, and a few more seats could open up in hte coming weeks (keep an eye on Missouri, for example, in case one of the Republicans jumps in the gubernatorial race now that Gov. Blunt shockingly announced he would not run again a few days ago). We are also still waiting to figure out what Tom Davis is doing in Virginia, in what could be an extremely difficult seat for Republicans to hold if he bows out.



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