Two Democrats Retire, One Republican Wins by Default

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 8 2014 1:34 PM

Two Democrats Retire, One Republican Wins by Default

159986893
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., speaks against assault weapons at a news conference on Jan. 24, 2013, on Capitol Hill.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman scoop that two Democrats, New York Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre, will retire at the end of this year. Conventional wisdom, based on data and vote patterns: Democrats will hold the Long Island seat and lose the eastern North Carolina seat. But the authors went further and got a nice kiss-off quote from North Carolina Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry.

Mike’s a talented politician and a nice guy, but there’s just no room for folks like him in the Democrat Party anymore.

Nice use of "Democrat Party," an incorrect formulation relied upon to piss the other guys off, and nice spin for what happened to McIntyre. In 2011 the GOP legislature redrew McIntyre's swing seat, which had given 52 percent of the vote to John McCain, into a safe Republican seat that gave McCain 58 percent of its vote. The goal, no secret, was to make it impossible for the Blue Dog to hold on. Republicans were so bullish about victory that they gave McIntyre's opponent an RNC speaking slot. And it almost worked—McIntyre won by fewer than 1,000 votes in a race that took days to call.

Advertisement

Hey, both parties do it. Democrats made Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's Maryland seat unwinnable, and now he lives off the grid in West Virginia. But it's a little bit of sophistry to say that McIntyre left because his party had moved so far left recently. The Republicans literally pulled his old, moderate district out from under him. Only three districts—Nick Rahall's West Virginia seat, Collin Peterson's Minnesota seat, and John Barrow's Georgia seat—are now represented by Democrats despite going strongly for Republican presidential candidates.*

(Oh, about McCarthy: Her district's not as blue as McIntyre's is red, but it's close. Obama defeated Romney by 14 points there; she crushed a weak opponent by 30 points. She leaves the House after a crushing disappointment for her life's goal, gun control, but this is the sort of seat the opposition party pretends to go after then gives up on in the stretch, especially with the statewide Democratic ticket looking at easy re-election.)

*Correction, Jan. 8, 2014: This post originally misspelled Collin Peterson's name.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

The Ungodly Horror of Having a Bug Crawl Into Your Ear and Scratch Away at Your Eardrum

My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. Then I Married Someone Like Him.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 2:57 PM ISIS Helps Snuff Out Conservative Opposition to Government Funding Bill
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 17 2014 1:59 PM Ask a Homo: Secret Ally Codes 
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 1:26 PM Hey CBS, Rihanna Is Exactly Who I Want to See on My TV Before NFL Games
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 1:01 PM A Rare, Very Unusual Interview With Michael Jackson, Animated
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 12:35 PM IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.