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Arkansas Rep. Marion Berry to retire

Arkansas Rep. Marion Berry is expected to announce his retirement tomorrow morning, according to three sources briefed on the decision.

Berry will become the sixth Democrat in a competitive seat to leave in the last two months but the first to announce his retirement since the party's special election loss in Massachusetts last Tuesday.

"The message coming out of the Massachusetts special election is clear: No Democrat is safe," said National Republican Congressional Committee communications director Ken Spain.

Berry, first elected in 1996, had been noncommittal about his re-election bid for months although, privately, his allies insisted he was planning to run for re-election.

While Berry had rarely been challenged in the 1st district over the past decade or so, the seat has a clear Republican tilt as Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) won it with 59 percent in 2008.

Arkansas will be a huge focus of Republican efforts in the fall with Berry and Rep. Vic Snyder (D) retiring and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) in deep trouble as she seek re-election.

The field to replace Berry isn't yet set although Democrats mentioned include state Rep. Keith Ingram, Berry chief of staff Chad Causey and Jason Willett, a former state party chair. State Attorney General Dustin McDaniel (D) is regarded as a rising star in the state and would be a favorite if he ran. On the Republican side, broadcaster Rick Crawford is in the race although the field is likely to expand with the Berry announcement.

Berry joins Snyder as well as Reps. Dennis Moore (Kans.), John Tanner (Tenn.), Brian Baird (Wash.) and Bart Gordon (Tenn.) as Members sitting in districts either won by McCain or carried narrowly by President Obama to step aside between the end of November and today.

Democratic strategists warned privately that a Coakley loss could open the floodgates for members who were wavering about their future political plans. Including Berry, there are now 12 Democratic members retiring with 14 Republicans calling it quits.

The next two weeks could well serve as a tipping point in the battle for House control. Today there appear to be too few open Democratic seats for Republican to win the 40 seats they need to take control. But, another handful of retirements in swing districts could imperil Democrats hold on the chamber.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 24, 2010; 7:25 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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Comments

We need to keep going. Pelosi, Waxman, Boxer, Lee, Waters, Miller, Schumer, and Frank all need to go.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | January 28, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | January 25, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

"I've always tended to dismiss anti-incumbency as something like term limits, politics for people who don't follow politics."

The public mood is more than just "anti-incumbency". The public knows full well that the leaders of both the House and Senate are buffoons incapable of running a convenience store let alone a nation.

Posted by: bot_feeder | January 25, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"but one that can now be used easily to obstruct the majority will is another matter."

The filibuster is now being used to thwart the majority of the Senate. But the filibuster is upholding the will of a solid majority of the PEOPLE.


Doesn't seem too anti-democratic to me.

Posted by: bot_feeder | January 25, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

katem1:

Here's an article from someone who voted for Obama "How to Squander the Presidency in One Year / Hey, Conan Obama: How About Now? Can You Hear Us Now?"

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/01/22-7

"... Obama has now, in just a year's time, become the single most inept president perhaps in all of American history, and certainly in my lifetime. Never has so much political advantage been p*ssed away so rapidly, and what's more in the context of so much national urgency and crisis. It's astonishing, really, to contemplate how much has been lost in a single year ...

... Of course, I don't give a sh*t about Barack Obama anymore, other than my desire that really ugly things happen to him as payment in kind for the grandest act of betrayal we've seen since Benedict Arnold did his thing ..."

Posted by: JakeD | January 25, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

still waiting for Chris to mention how Sen. Ensign being investigated by the FBI for his extra-marital activities and the $96,000.00 pay off...

Posted by: katem1 | January 25, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

to 37thandO:

Might want to re-check your history, esp. the last 20-40 yrs., on the filibuster. A difficult and thus rarely used method to protect the minority or serve as the "cooling saucer" is fine, but one that can now be used easily to obstruct the majority will is another matter. 60 votes routinely required to get common legislation in a majority-rule body? It seems hardly conducive to constructive compromise or electoral responsiveness.

Posted by: mrdooley | January 25, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse


He just got sick of being confused with Marion BArry so one can understand why he would want to get out of town.


Posted by: mortified469 | January 25, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

37th&Ostreet: how the heck would you know why people voted for Obama? you obviously didnot vote for him, so why don't you stick to what your own experience is? You didn't vote for him because....
trying to get people against him by pointing out what you think are his flaws is insulting to toher voters. So stick to your facts, not made up ones designed to make the Prez look bad.

Posted by: katem1 | January 25, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Rats.

Sinking ship.

Posted by: TruData | January 25, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Uh-oh, something must be about to hit the fan, if Berry is on the way out.

Posted by: prossers7 | January 25, 2010 5:27 AM | Report abuse

When the going gets tough,something,something,and then quit.

Posted by: sdavis4 | January 25, 2010 3:28 AM | Report abuse

To the democrats griping about the Senate Filibuster rules:


The Filibuster rules are a great tradition in this nation - benefiting both parties at different times in our history. These rules force both parties to COMPROMISE AND WORK TOGETHER.


Funny, doesn't that sound like Obama's platform?

The best way for our government to work is for both leaderships to get together and hammer out something both sides can agree on - and measures pass with support from both sides of the aisle.


This is a good thing for our country - democrats stop your complaining -

The main problem with the democratic health care bills is the Senate refused to put the Stupak amendment into their bill - now the bills are so far apart who knows.

Why is the Senate bill so far from the House bill at this point? Why weren't they working more closely together over the past six months.


What the democrats don't want to say is that over the past six months there has been a complete failure of leadership on the part of Obama -


Obama always wants to be the hero to come in at the end - but Obama has not been there getting the compromises made with the health care bill all along

AND Obama should have never tried for one or two Republicans - Obama should have 25 Republicans voting for the health care bill - that is the kind of bipartisanship which Obama PROMISED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.


IF OBAMA KEPT THAT PROMISE, HE WOULD NOT BE IN THE SITUATION HE IS TODAY.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 25, 2010 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Who dat?! Who dat?!

(sorry, bsimon)

Posted by: DDAWD | January 25, 2010 1:07 AM | Report abuse

douglaslbarber


People feel as though Obama LIED to them - Obama made the commitment to bipartisanship and people voted for him on that basis.


Whether the Republicans initially went along with that or not does not matter.

What matters is that Obama commited himself to policies that were CENTRIST - that were a product of negotiation between the two sides - Obama committed himself to COMPROMISE.


Just because the Republicans didn't show up the first day does not give Obama the go-ahead to swing all the way to the left and impose a FAR-LEFT AGENDA ON THE COUNTRY.


It's pretty simple. Apparently the democrats have given themselves a bunch of excuses, and convinced themselves that everything is OK with this - but the American people want NO PART OF IT.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 25, 2010 1:00 AM | Report abuse

orionca, I certainly agree that Democrats face potential disaster in 2010. This is the most treacherous USA electoral environment I've seen and I was born in 1954.

What makes Dems strong today (or should), their congressional majorities and custody of the White House makes them vulnerable to a tidal wave of anti-incumbent voter sentiment.

I've always tended to dismiss anti-incumbency as something like term limits, politics for people who don't follow politics.

However, when you've got Geithner at Treasury and all the various insults to common sense that Democrats offered in the course of piecing together their health care bill, I can begin to understand voters' sense that no matter which party is in power government's blind to my problems and eager to solve the problems of people who fund their campaigns.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | January 25, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

By one rough analysis, last Tuesday Brown won the congressional precincts in Massachusetts that Obama won by 64% or less in 2008. He lost Barney Frank's district by ~200 votes, and Obama won there by 65%.

Extending this nationwide there are 103 "safe" Democrat-held seats in the House. It's not quite as bad as that for them, of course, but as it stands now any Democrat sitting in a nominally GOP-leaning district like Berry should expect to pack his bags and go home after November.

Posted by: orionca | January 25, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

As a constituent of Rep. Berry, let me just say good riddance, unlike some of the deniers(you know who you are)he had no chance of winning. This is actually bad news for the Republicans as it might put up a stronger Democrat, just the same the 1st District will be held by a Republican if I have anything to say about it, I didn't leave Jersey to sit on the sideline as the Dems bring about the demise of this great country.

Posted by: wf922 | January 24, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

"... the seat has a clear Republican tilt as Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) won it with 59 percent in 2008."

Impressive number. The same per cent which Democrats have in the United States Senate tonight.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | January 24, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

luridone:

Google "Cook Report" to see the difference between "competitive" Dem seats and "safe" GOP retirements seeking higher office.

Posted by: JakeD | January 24, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

12 Dems and 14 Repukes retiring and the Dems are in trouble? Typical right-wing illogic.

Posted by: luridone | January 24, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Good feeling isn't is Marian? The days of watching nasty nancy bare her teeth, pop her eyes and having to listen to that schreechy voice, are drawing to an end. And didn't you love hopping up and down everytime she did.

Posted by: continued | January 24, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

And so it starts.

The tsunami builds.

Posted by: Moonbat | January 24, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Why was Themistocles relevant?

Posted by: JakeD | January 24, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse


Another self-centered coward heading for the hills. Or, more likely, K Street.

Good riddance.


Posted by: DagnyT | January 24, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

humm...there's a old saw about this...what was it..humm...something about rats and...and... a sinking ship or something. gotta think..hummmm

Posted by: wjc1va | January 24, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

humm...there's a old saw about this...what was it..humm...something about rats and...and... a sinking ship or something. gotta think..hummmm

Posted by: wjc1va | January 24, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

humm...there's a old saw about this...what was it..humm...something about rats and...and... a sinking ship or something. gotta think..hummmm

Posted by: wjc1va | January 24, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Senator Blanche Lincoln has accumulated a huge warchest compliments of the health care companies like Aetna, Merck and Pfizer. Like Judas, she sold out the people who believed that she would represent them, not big business or the National Democratic Party. She deserves to lose.

Posted by: joe59 | January 24, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

While I think that Democrats probably need some mission focus, let's at least get our history straight. Solon was ostracized (kicked out for ten years) by Athens. As was, for that matter, Themistocles, who beat the Persians at Salamis. So much for gratitude.

Posted by: Publius14 | January 24, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

I am disgusted by Dem cowards retiring instead of standing on their records, of which they otherwise proclaim to be paragons of wisdom and empathy for the common man. If these solons are really so clever, wise and caring, why would they not seek another term, ESPECIALLY when it appears the troglodytes of society are electing people like Brown! Where is your sense of mission, you virtuous lads and ladies?

When the going gets tough, you know, and all that...you were happy to save the clingy schlubs of America from themselves when the going was easy and you could pee on Bush for everything, including the weather.

Wimps.

Posted by: ghschirtz | January 24, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

If you flip a coin and it comes up heads, the next time you flip it that doesn't mean it will be heads again.

Posted by: Publius14 | January 24, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

In statistics, reasoning from a single instance normally results in a falsehood.

Posted by: Publius14 | January 24, 2010 9:20 PM


You're using broadwayjoe statistics. I'm looking at the real world.

Posted by: SuzyCcup | January 24, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

In statistics, reasoning from a single instance normally results in a falsehood. Every competitive seat seems a little universal.

Posted by: Publius14 | January 24, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight. A Senate result in Massachusetts means that a competitive seat in Arkansas is at risk? ...exactly what common factors are operating besides gravity ..

Posted by: Publius14 | January 24, 2010 9:10 PM


No, a Senate result in Massachusetts means that every competitive seat in the US is at risk. Gravity sucks!

Posted by: SuzyCcup | January 24, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight. A Senate result in Massachusetts means that a competitive seat in Arkansas is at risk? Given that politics is local, exactly what common factors are operating besides gravity pointing down and pundits looking for trends?

Posted by: Publius14 | January 24, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

New reality show coming this fall! It's called "Obama Castaways." Based on Gilligan's Island (my dad always tells me about this show). Will feature a boatload of democrats.

Posted by: SuzyCcup | January 24, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

manbearpig4:

There's no "spin" needed. The TRUTH is that the Dems are in serious trouble.

Posted by: JakeD | January 24, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Chris, what the heck is going on? You weren't able to spin how this would be bad news for republicans?

Posted by: manbearpig4 | January 24, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't think open seats are going to be needed. Democrat incumbents will be very endangered and they know it. That is why so many are suddenly retiring. Scott Brown raised $12 million via the internet in two weeks. House Republicans candidates will raise big money this year. Democrat incumbents realize they will be in the fight of their lives this year.

Posted by: jy151310 | January 24, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I think he spells his last name "Barry" but there ain't enough coke ho's for that.

Posted by: JakeD | January 24, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

You don't suppose that if DC's Marion Berry established residency in this district and ran....

Posted by: douglaslbarber | January 24, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

This is a shame.

I was hoping that he could work with Congressman Dingell on new legislation.

Much Like McCain-Feingold only Dingell would get top billing being the senior of the two along with Congressman Berry.

Posted by: Washington13 | January 24, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Here we go!!!

Posted by: JakeD | January 24, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

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