California to have at least 5 open congressional seats in 2012
A fifth member of California’s congressional delegation has announced plans to retire: Republican Congressman Wally Herger. The growing number of lawmakers who aren’t running for re-election means this November’s election, with its citizen-drawn districts, will have the largest number of open congressional seats in two decades.
Herger's represented Chico in far northern California since 1987. Herger is a senior member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, but he maintains a low profile with the press.
His retirement follows on the heels of Congressman Elton Gallegly’s weekend announcement that he’s not running for re-election either. Redistricting would have pitted Gallegly against the head of the Armed Services Committee, fellow Republican Buck McKeon, in a newly redrawn Simi Valley district.
Three veteran Democrats — Lynne Woolsey of Petaluma, Bob Filner of Chula Vista and Dennis Cardoza of Modesto — previously announced that they’re also leaving Capitol Hill.
UC Berkeley political science expert Bruce Cain says this is the largest number of open congressional seats in 20 years — when more than a dozen were up for grabs.