Unlike yesterday's shocking news that Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe won't seek re-election, here's one long-expected retirement announcement from a Republican: California's David Dreier is hanging up his spurs
. There isn't even much to say here: Though Dreier had served in the House for three decades and had achieved some pretty high leadership ranks within his party, he was utterly shafted in redistricting and even before the music stopped, there was no good district for him to run in.
But as incumbents and challengers began making up their minds about where to make bids in California's radically redrawn map, Dreier's few options grew even narrower, until they essentially reached zero. His seat had been carved up into no fewer than seven others. (You can follow along on the map here.) His hometown of San Dimas wound up in the 32nd, a heavily Democratic district that Rep. Grace Napolito decided to run in. The plurality of his constituents, 32 percent, landed in the 27th, another very blue seat that Rep. Judy Chu is calling home.
The 31st, a swingy but blue-tilting district, looked like a possibility, but fellow GOP Rep. Jerry Lewis had dibs on that—and when Lewis retired, another Republican, Rep. Gary Miller, bogarted the seat (and got instant NRCC backing) before Dreier could even open his mouth. Carpetbagging out to the open 8th never seemed like a good fit either, for the opposite reason: The sprawling district covering much of the Mojave Desert would likely have been too conservative for someone of Dreier's stripe, and indeed, the primary filled up with all manner of Republicans who would have been eager to out-wingnut a guy like Dreier.
Observers, therefore, have long been expecting Dreier to bail, particularly as time wore on and his dire situation became clearer and clearer. I guess Dreier himself had to go through the five stages of grieving before he could accept his fate, though, but finally, here we are. Ordinarily, a retirement announcement means we start looking at possible successors and evaluating pickup chances. But not this time. As this catalog shows, there was no longer any seat Dreier could lay claim to, so there's no succession to speak of. Indeed, I haven't even put a district number in the title of this post, because I'm not even sure you can peg him properly.
But while there may not be much else to say, it's another Republican retirement, and I'll certainly take it.