An informal list of 17 members the NRCC believes can be convinced to step down, privately called the “Dem Retirement Assault List,” makes clear the party needs Dem incumbents to step aside if they have hopes of taking back the majority. The NRCC has taken pains to attack those lawmakers in recent weeks.
The list includes 14 members whose districts voted for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in ’08. […]
The NRCC has also begun targeting Reps. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and Leonard Boswell (D-IA), three members who already have credible opponents but who occupy seats Pres. Obama won in ’08.
2008 would have been a perfect time for Boswell to retire. Tons of voters in Iowa’s third Congressional district registered as Democrats in order to participate in the Iowa caucuses, and any number of candidates could have held this seat easily. Statewide, turnout in November 2008 was about the same as in 2004, but turnout in Polk County was significantly higher in 2008.
I don’t know anyone who expects Boswell to step down next year, but if he did, this might be a tough hold, since Democratic turnout tends to be lower in off-year elections. On the other hand, much would depend on the Democratic nominee. One possible candidate is former First Lady Christie Vilsack, who seemed to leave the door open for a future campaign when she ruled out running against Senator Chuck Grassley. Someone with high name recognition and no voting record to attack might even do better than Boswell against Brad Zaun or Jim Gibbons.