This looks like the first real House retirement of the 2011-12 cycle:
Rep. Dan Boren, the only Democrat in Oklahoma’s congressional delegation, plans to announce Tuesday that he won’t seek reelection in 2012, leaving open his seat that spans much of eastern Oklahoma.
A source close to Boren said he will make an official announcement at 2 p.m. in his hometown of Muskogee.
While a number of congressmen have announced plans to seek higher office, Oklahoma has neither a Senate seat nor its governor’s mansion up for re-election this year, so it sounds like Boren, though he’s only 37, is ready to move on to something else. This district has moved sharply away from Democrats over the last decade, going from a narrow 52-47 Bush win over Gore in 2000 to 59-41 Bush vs. Kerry and finally a monster 66-34 win for McCain over Obama. (The seat’s lines were barely altered in redistricting — so little, in fact, that it’s still a 66-34 McCain district.) Despite this, Boren always won handily, even in 2010.
Notably, after last year’s the wipeout, OK-02 became by far the reddest district still held by a Democrat. (The next-closest is Mike Ross in AR-04, at 37-60, post-redistricting.) So it would be extremely remarkable if we could hold this seat, but — and this is a big but — it sounds like we already have a pretty exceptional replacement candidate in the form of ex-Rep. Brad Carson, who held this seat for two terms early last decade before waging a losing campaign against Tom Coburn for the open Senate seat in 2004. According to the linked article, Carson plans to seek his old seat, which I think would give us a fighting chance here. [UPDATE: Incorrect information about OK-02's partisan makeup prior to 2002 removed.]
In any event, stay tuned for the announcement.
UPDATE: It’s official:
“I have made the decision not to seek re-election next year for another term in Congress. This is not an easy decision for me. It was based on the demands of constant campaigning, and most importantly spending too much time away from my family which includes two very young children. …
“There are no better people than those in the Second District of Oklahoma. It has been an honor serving them. It is my intention to serve out the balance of my term and not letting up until my time is completed. I want to thank my family, especially my wife Andrea, our wonderful staff, and again the great people of the Second District of Oklahoma.”
That “it is my intention” language makes me wonder if Boren might not in fact resign early. That could potentially be a good thing for Democrats.
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