In a major blow to Democrats, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey announced that he will not seek reelection, saying he is “ready to turn the page” after a four-decade House career.
The Wisconsin Democrat faces tough poll numbers at home, but until Tuesday night his staff had insisted he was running aggressively and had hired campaign staff. But a person close to him confirmed the decision to POLITICO Wednesday morning, and Obey made the announcement official at a 1 p.m. press conference.
“I’m ready to turn the page and I think frankly that my district is ready for someone new to make a fresh start,” Obey said. “… Frankly, I am bone tired.”
Elected in 1969, the liberal is a major institutional figure who played a leading role in the anti-war and reform movement of the House in the 1970’s.
Sean Duffy (R) is now very likely to win the Congressional race, providing the GOP with one more seat toward the magic number of 218 to recapture the US House. (Follow Sean Duffy on Twitter) One less Democrat and one more lumberjack in Congress — sounds good to me.
In related news, National Journal reports today that turnout among Democrats in yesterday’s primarys in three states fell dramatically from previous years.
Turnout among Dem voters dropped precipitously in 3 statewide primaries on Tuesday, giving the party more evidence that their voters lack enthusiasm ahead of midterm elections.
In primaries in NC, IN and OH, Dems turned out at far lower rates than they have in previous comparable elections.
By contrast, GOP turnout was up almost across the board. 373K people voted in Burr’s uncompetitive primary, nearly 9% higher than the 343K who voted in the equally non-competitive primary in ’04. Turnout in House races in IN rose 14.6% from ’06, fueled by the competitive Senate primary, which attracted 550K voters. And 728K voters cast ballots for a GOP Sec/State nominee in Ohio, the highest-ranking statewide election with a primary; in ’06, just 444K voters cast ballots in that race.
Looks like a bad year for Democrats is getting increasingly worse as November approaches. Luckily, a bad 2010 for Democrats means a good year for Americans in 2011.