Republicans outperformed many predictions in last year’s congressional races and are plotting a return to power in next year’s midterm elections.
A number of recent retirement announcements, however, could make it increasingly hard for the GOP to hold on to legislative seats currently in the party’s control.
U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) added to the growing list of Republicans stepping down from Congress, though his retirement will have a more immediate impact on the power structure since he is expected to leave Capitol Hill next month.
His decision is reportedly tied to his new position as the head of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. It will leave Republicans with one less vote in an already narrowly divided House.
Stivers, who has represented Ohio’s 15th District for more than a decade, announced his retirement in a tweet on Sunday in which he thanked his constituents for the opportunity to serve.
The move will necessitate a special election in a district that has historically leaned Republican, but it remains unclear who might step in to pursue the soon-to-be-vacant House seat.
Earlier rumors indicated that Stivers had been eyeing up a potential Senate run in the state. Politico has subsequently reported that such a bid is no longer in his plans.
With a growing number of House Republicans announcing their retirement, many through statements confirming that they will not seek another term next year, the political toll on the GOP is expected to be serious.
As of March, at least five Republican senators had pledged that the current term would be their last, with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) being the most recent to make such an announcement. The level of impending retirements is the most seen in the chamber in the last dozen years.
Republicans reportedly stand a good chance of regaining a majority in at least one chamber of Congress, but each retirement makes such an outcome a bit less likely.
Retirement announcements from Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) represent examples of seats expected to draw fierce Democratic campaigns as that party seeks to hold on to its control of an evenly split Senate.
With months left to go until the midterm elections start heating up, it remains to be seen whether any more lawmakers of either party make the decision to step down.