We have a long way to go until November, anything can happen, blah blah blah. Now that that’s out of the way, let us note anew that this year is shaping up to be one of the worst years in recent memory for the Democratic party. I mean, when you have a titan of the House of Representatives feel as though he doesn’t fit in anymore, you come to certain conclusions:
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.
The big beneficiary of this decision? Sean Duffy, the Republican who hopes to succeed Obey.
When POLITICO contacted Sean Duffy, a leading Republican candidate for Obey’s seat back in Wisconsin, he was incredulous.
“Is this a prank call?” Duffy asked.
When Duffy was assured that the news was real, his phone started ringing on the other line: “I’ve got to go. I’m blowing up.”
He might blow up further if you give him money. A lot of people are going to be doing so; if ever there was a question as to whether Duffy’s chances of being a Congressman were legitimate, those questions have been resolved now. He is as serious a candidate as they come.
By the way, don’t assume that David Obey’s retirement will be the last one we see from a significant Congressional Democrat. Democrats on the Hill know that the political winds are blowing against them. Many of them will decide that they would rather run than fight.