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How exodus from Congress could shape 2024 election

At least three dozen lawmakers in the House and Senate are leaving their positions at the end of next year as "many members of Congress are aging out," one expert says.

Members of Congress are fleeing Capitol Hill at the end of next year, making for a 2024 election cycle with at least three dozen open seats.

There are 36 lawmakers not running for reelection to Congress in 2024, including seven members of the Senate and 29 members of the House, according to data aggregator Ballotpedia. 

On the House side, the 29 who are either retiring or seeking another office include 20 Democrats and 9 Republicans.


“Retirements can take many forms. Members seek another office or another career opportunity, or they simply get tired with the job after doing it for many years,” Derek T. Muller, professor of law at Notre Dame Law School, told Fox News Digital.

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“Partisan bickering can make the job more exhausting, and gridlock can make it seem that efforts are wasted. It’s hard to be away from one’s family so many weeks of the year. And many members of Congress are aging out. It’s no surprise to see high levels of turnover this cycle,” Muller said.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report projects five open House seats as possible Democrat pickup opportunities while none are listed for the GOP. 

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A majority of House lawmakers who are leaving are departing safe red or blue districts.

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But the Republican Party has been forced to grapple with underwhelming back-to-back performances in 2022 and 2023 amid fallout from the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last year. Most recently, Democrats in Virginia made blocking the GOP’s proposed 15-week abortion limit a cornerstone of November’s statehouse elections – and retained control. 

Meanwhile, the “partisan bickering” Muller referenced has reached historic highs in the 118th Congress.

Less than three months ago, eight Republicans joined all House Democrats in a majority vote to oust the speaker of the House for the first time in U.S. history. It paralyzed Congress for three weeks as a GOP conference fraught with divisions sought a new speaker.

However, Democrats are not facing a clean sweep in 2024 – their own intraparty divisions have been brought back to the surface in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

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Progressives have revolted against Democrats’ traditional pro-Israel stance, threatening to withhold support from candidates supporting Tel Aviv.

That could make it harder for a moderate Democrat without an incumbency advantage to win a primary and, therefore, make it easier for a Republican candidate in a general election. 

A Fox News poll published Oct. 12 showed widespread disapproval for Congress across the parties, though Republicans fared slightly worse.

GOP lawmakers’ approval rating is just 30%, seven points lower than Democrats. Their disapproval rating, 66%, is 6% higher than their liberal counterparts in Congress.

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