2012 Watch List: Who Might Leave The House

Here are Hotline’s predictions for who might retire in 2012:

Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.)

This 10-term Sonoma congresswoman has been the most vocal about mulling retirement, and has indicated she’ll make a decision by June. In this solidly Democratic district, several local hopefuls are already lining up and have begun raising money.

Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.)

Having faced ethics investigations, being forced to resign his Ways & Means chairmanship and finally culminating in an embarrassing censure by the House, Rangel nevertheless won a 21st term and overcame several Democratic primary challengers. But maybe that victory alone in the face of problems was enough for Rangel — he’s hinted that this year may be his last.

Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.)

Bartlett has been viewed as a possible retirement for several cycles, but he’s nothing if not unpredictable. If he did step aside, Democrats might make his district a little more friendly to them, but it’s still the most Republican in the Free State. Bartlett hasn’t been afraid to cozy up to Democrats either — in fact, he was Nancy Pelosi‘s (D-Calif.) “date” to the State of the Union.

Bill Young (R-Fla.)

Young admitted he had decided to retire in 2010 but changed his mind at the last minute after hearing attacks leveled against him. In October he was noncommittal on whether his 21st term would be his last, but if he does retire, this seat, which Pres. Obama won in 2008, would become immediately competitive for Democrats, unless Republicans can shore it up in redistricting. Still, Young is never one to give obvious signals on his decision, and one Florida Republican notes that he’s already had one fundraising event this cycle and has four more scheduled.

Frank Wolf (R-Va.)

This seat was targeted by Democrats in 2008, but Wolf still won comfortably, and since then this area of Northern Virginia has trended more Republican. If Wolf does retire, his former aide Barbara Comstock, who won a seat in the House of Delegates last year, would be a likely candidate to succeed him.

And here’s Taylor’s Top 5 members who are likely to seek higher office, not including Reps. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who has already announced he will run for the Senate, and Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), who is poised to announce a Senate campaign this weekend.

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