Rep. Dan Boren to Retire, GOP Poised to Gain Seat

Posted: Jun 07, 2011 12:57 PM

Much has been made of the parade of Senate retirements in advance of the 2012 cycle, and rightly so. Nearly ten percent of the upper chamber's seats will be vacant next year -- a rarity.  The simple math suggests that Democrats may have a tough time maintaining control of the Senate -- but could they win back the House?  In light of the GOP landslide last year, prospects for a restored Democratic House majority seemed slim, but some party strategists now believe that goal is within reach.  Their perceived golden ticket: Mediscare.  Post NY-26, Democrats now have to net 24 seats to win back the House next year.  In all likelihood, that task will get one seat harder today, as Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) is expected to announce his impending retirement later this afternoon:

Rep. Dan Boren, the only Democrat in Oklahoma's seven-person congressional delegation, will not run for re-election in 2012, leaving open a seat that spans much of eastern Oklahoma.  Boren, 37, plans to make an official announcement at 2 p.m. Tuesday in his hometown of Muskogee.

He has served in the U.S. House since 2005. His predecessor in the 2nd District seat, Democrat Brad Carson, said Tuesday that he plans to run for the seat.

Boren is an extremely conservative Democrat, who voted against Obamacare, cap and trade, and even declined to endorse Barack Obama for president.  As NRO's Jim Geraghty notes, Boren represents a +14 Republican district, so the absence of a popular incumbent will likely make this seat exceptionally difficult for Democrats to hold.  Hardcore Medicare fearmongering notwithstanding, Democrats will likely need to catch a lot of breaks to snatch the Speaker's gavel from John Boehner; today's news certainly isn't helpful.  Then again, if the DCCC sticks with its absolutely insane 2012 messaging strategy, this entire discussion could be academic.
UPDATE - In his retirement statement, Boren cites the stress and monotony of "constant campaigning" as a major factor in his decision not to seek re-election.