Rep. Peter DeFazio 19th House Dem to Say ‘Outta Here!’

Rep. Peter DeFazio 19th House Dem to Say 'Outta Here!' pete defazio speaks in hearing Rep. Peter Defazio, D-Ore., participates in a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Aviation Subcommittee hearing on the surge in passenger rage cases and its effects on the airline industry and staff, on Sept. 23, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

John Gizzi By John Gizzi Thursday, 02 December 2021 08:52 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Soon after Oregon’s Rep. Peter DeFazio on Wednesday became the 19th House Democrat to announce his retirement in 2022, numerous scholars of politics concluded it was just the latest sign that Democrats are likely — if not certain — to lose their majority in the House next year.

"This is a sign of two things — Democrats are aging and some of them are in trouble," said historian and Arizona State University Prof. Donald Critchlow, author of the acclaimed book "Revolutionary Monsters."

As for the coming midterm elections, Critchlow told Newsmax: "At this point in time, the question is whether the Red wave will be a tidal wave."

At 74 and as Oregon’s longest-serving Member of Congress in history, DeFazio’s departure is significant. The chairman of the House Transportation Committee was a major player in crafting the president’s infrastructure package, which narrowly passed the House, and climate change legislation.

In 1986, then-Lane County Commissioner DeFazio defeated two better-known state senators in the Democrat primary for the open 4th District. Most observers agree his narrow win was due to the endorsement of his mentor and former boss, retiring Democrat Rep. James Weaver.

In November, DeFazio kept the 4th District in Democrat hands by defeating Republican and Douglas County Commissioner Bruce Long with 54%. He never faced a strong challenge until last year.

Republican Alek Skarlatos was famed as one of three U.S. National Guard officers who disarmed three terrorists on a Paris-bound train from Amsterdam to Brussels in 2015. Along with his comrades, Skarlatos was decorated by President Barack Obama and then-French President Francois Hollande.

Based in part on the fame from his heroism (which was made into a motion picture), Skarlatos outraised DeFazio and drew a stunning 46.3% against the seemingly unbeatable Democrat.

Now 29, Skarlatos has said he is running again and delighted DeFazio is leaving. DeFazio, possibly recalling the rough 2020 race, said he "doesn’t care" what Skarlatos thinks.

As it was when Rep. Weaver stepped down in 1986, a crowded Democrat primary is likely to be sparked by DeFazio’s announcement. Soon after he said he was retiring, fellow liberal Democrat and State Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle said she would run in the 4th District (Eugene-Corvallis).

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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