Wednesday, October 03, 2007

It's been a half-century

Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico will retire next year at the end of his fifth term, making him the sixth Republican in the Senate to decide not to seek re-election in 2008. The last time six Republican Senators retired in the same election year was 1958. Six retirements from both parties has been the rough average since 1964, according to  Charlie Cook.
For some recent history: 
In 2000, five Senators retired (four Democrats, and one Republican). In 2002, four Senators retired, all Republican, including Strom Thurmond, the only Senator to have reached 100 years of age while still in office. In 2004, eight Senators retired (five Democrats, and three Republicans) and all but one yielded his seat to the opposing party. And in 2006, four Senators retired (two Democrats, one Republican, and the independent Jim Jeffords). 
Six is the highest number of Republican retirements in a half-century, but five retired in 1978 and 1996.