And then there were 11

AND THEN THERE WERE 11…. At least for now, retirements among congressional Republicans outnumber those among congressional Democrats, and this week, we saw the numbers grow for both.

On Thursday, Rep. John Shadegg, a far-right Republican from Arizona, announced he would not seek re-election, making him the 14th GOP House member to retire before November’s midterms. Yesterday, Rep. Vic Snyder, a center-left Democrat from Arkansas, followed suit.

“2010 will be a robust election year during which great forces collide to set the direction for our country for another two years,” Mr. Snyder, 62, said in a statement. “I have concluded that these election-year forces are no match for the persuasive and powerful attraction of our three one-year old boys under the leadership of their three-year old brother, and I have decided not to run for re-election.” […]

Mr. Snyder has won past re-election bids comfortably, but his district has become increasingly conservative during his tenure, voting for 54 percent to 44 percent for John McCain in 2008.

Snyder is the 11th House Dem to forgo re-election this cycle, though five of the 11 are seeking higher office.

He was poised to face former Bush administration prosecutor Tim Griffin (R), a Karl Rove protege who was near the center of the U.S. Attorney “Purge” scandal, and the former head of the RNC’s opposition research operation, where he developed a reputation as an amoral attack dog intent on destroying Democrats at all costs.

Republicans will no doubt look at Arkansas’ 2nd district as a key pickup opportunity — indeed, the NRCC was already targeting Snyder — but National Journal notes that the district is arguably the friendliest in the state for Democrats, and there are a variety of credible Dem candidates, including state Lt. Gov. Bill Halter and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, who will be considered strong candidates if they choose to run.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.