Two More House Members Leave In Ongoing Wave Of Departures

Two additional House lawmakers declared they won’t seek reelection in 2024. They join a growing roster of House members leaving their roles as lawmakers.

On Thursday, Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-NC) and Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA) announced they would not pursue another term in the House. Nickel and Ferguson will leave two more vacancies in the lower chamber. Some fear this will potentially influence a more unpredictable election cycle next year. 

While Ferguson’s district is not anticipated to be fiercely contested, Nickel’s retirement provides Republicans with a favorable opportunity to secure a seat and expand their narrow majority.

Nickel pointed to North Carolina’s approval of redrawn congressional maps, which are expected to shift his district to Republicans in the upcoming year, as a reason for his departure. Nickel is now the third Democrat in North Carolina to forego reelection due to the newly redrawn boundaries. 

This opportunity provided Republicans with several chances to strengthen their House majority.

Nickel released a statement saying, “Republicans have rigged the system to favor themselves, and I don’t have a path to run for re-election in the 13th district. But I’m not giving up, and neither should you.”

Ferguson said his departure was due to personal reasons. He released a statement explaining, “Georgia is calling him home.”

Ferguson said, “Julie and I look forward to spending more time with our children and grandchildren while continuing to work to keep Georgia the best state in America to live and do business.”

So far, over 30 House incumbents have announced that they don’t intend to run for reelection next year. This marks one of the highest rates of early retirement in the past six years. Among them, 12 Republicans and 23 Democrats have announced their decision, creating a total of 35 open seats.

Only seven of the seats are deemed competitive, and all of the seats are currently held by Democrats. The seats held by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) and Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) are both classified as toss-ups, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. 

Additionally, two more seats, those of Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) are considered highly competitive.

In contrast, almost all Republican districts, excluding the one previously held by former Rep. George Santos, are deemed consistently Republican.

With the two recent retirement announcements, the 2024 cycle is poised to become one of the most notable retirement years in recent history. It is set to rival 2018, which witnessed 52 House retirements. 

This figure represents the highest number of incumbent retirements recorded in a single cycle since the 1992 cycle, when 65 members chose not to seek reelection.

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