‘Dropping like flies’?

‘DROPPING LIKE FLIES’?…. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) is retiring. So is Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). And before anyone could catch their breath, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) announced he’s not seeking re-election, either.

It led ABC News to report that “Democrats are dropping like flies.”

It is not shaping up to be a pretty week for the Democrats. […]

You will certainly hear a lot of talk from Republicans that Democrats are beginning to face the reality of just how tough the current political landscape looks for them and they are running for the hills.

This is, to be sure, exactly the meme Republicans want the media to embrace, and if the coverage this morning is any indication, political journalists seem anxious to comply.

But let’s add a little perspective here. Quick quiz: which party has more Senate retirements so far this campaign cycle, Democrats or Republicans? Follow-up question: which party has more House retirements so far this campaign cycle, Democrats or Republicans?

If Dems are “dropping like flies,” the answer should be obvious. But it’s not — in both chambers, Republican retirements, at least for now, outnumber Democratic retirements.

In the House, 14 GOP incumbents have decided not to seek re-election, while 10 Democratic incumbents have made the same announcement. Does this mean Republicans are “dropping like flies”?

In the Senate, six Republican incumbents have decided not to seek re-election, while two Democratic incumbents have made the same announcement. Is this evidence of a mass Democratic exodus?

Among governors, several incumbents in both parties are term-limited and prevented from running again, but only three Democrats who can seek re-election — Parkinson in Kansas, Doyle in Wisconsin, and Ritter in Colorado — have chosen not to. For Republicans, the number is four — Douglas in Vermont, Rell in Connecticut, Crist in Florida, and Pawlenty in Minnesota. (Update: the GOP number is five if we include Palin in Alaska.)

So, to review, Republican retirements outnumber Democratic retirements in the House, in the Senate, and among governors. The preferred Republican/media meme of the day doesn’t match up well against reality.