Two More Lawmakers Decline To Seek Another Term

Next year’s congressional elections could usher in some surprises considering the higher-than-usual number of incumbents in both chambers who are opting against seeking another term.

Last month, more than a dozen lawmakers announced that their current term would be their last, which is the highest monthly number in more than a decade. So far, at least 40 legislators, including seven incumbent senators, have made such an announcement.

Most recently, two members of the House of Representatives confirmed that they are not running for re-election.

Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA), however, represents a deep-red state that is likely to remain in GOP hands for the upcoming session. In a statement, he signaled a desire to relocate back to his home state full time and spend “more time with our children and grandchildren while continuing to work to keep Georgia the best state in America to live and do business.”

For Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-NC), the stated motivation was more political in nature. The freshman lawmaker complained that redrawn district lines in the state would hurt his chances of winning re-election.

“Republicans have rigged the system to favor themselves, and I don’t have a path to run for re-election,” he claimed.

Nickel is said to be weighing his options ahead of a possible U.S. Senate bid, though.

With 435 members in the House, each seat carries significantly less weight than in the Senate, which only has 100 members. For that reason, just a few departures in the upper chamber could tip the scales in one party’s favor — particularly given the narrow 51-49 majority Democrats currently hold.

One notable example is Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who has been able to overcome his state’s GOP advantage while running as a moderate Democrat and occasionally standing up against his own party’s leadership.

“After months of deliberation and long conversation with my family, I believe, in my heart of hearts, that I have accomplished what I set out to do for West Virginia,” he wrote in a social media post last month. “I have made one of the toughest decisions of my life, and decided that I will not be running for reelection to the United States Senate.”

Analysts say Manchin’s exit will provide Republicans with a prime opportunity to achieve a tie in the Senate even as Democrats will be working to retain seats elsewhere across the country that have become increasingly competitive due in large part to President Joe Biden’s sagging popularity.