On Tuesday, Rep. Kathleen Rice, a four-term Representative from New York and a former Prosecutor, said she would not seek re-election in November. Rice is the 30th Democrat in the House of Representatives to announce that they would retire or seek another office at the end of their current term this cycle. This year, just under one-seventh of all House Democrats chose to retire, setting a new high.
Kathleen Rice was elected to Congress for the first time in 2014, succeeding fellow Democrat Carolyn McCarthy. Double digits re-elected her in the district that spans Nassau County on New York’s Long Island in 2016, 2018, and 2020. Rice added in a statement, “She has long felt that holding political office is neither destiny nor a right.”
Moreover, thirty-one House Democrats are stepping down or running for other posts, the highest number since the 1992 election cycle. In comparison, only 14 Republicans in the House of Representatives are retiring or seeking re-election. To reclaim the House majority it lost in 2018, the GOP needs a net gain of five seats. In midterm elections, the party that wins the White House in a presidential election usually loses more than 25 House seats.
Representative Kathleen Rice covers the majority of Nassau County on Long Island, and in 2020, her seat was won by Joe Biden by a margin of twelve points. Rice’s current GOP rival outraised her in the last fundraising cycle, indicating that the seat is considered competitive. It decided last year to remove incumbent Democrats from the Nassau county executive and district attorney positions.
Kathleen Rice is the latest House moderate to express dissatisfaction with Queen Nancy Pelosi’s dictatorial leadership. She was one of a group of moderates that attempted to derail Pelosi’s quest for Speaker of the House in 2019. She lost that struggle, but she did win a vital internal battle for a seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee over AOC.