State Sen. Laura Kelly (D) just announced her withdrawal from the race to face Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.). She becomes the fifth formidable recruit to bow out in recent weeks.
“I have been forced to make a decision between honoring the pledge I made to the people in my Senate district and my firm conviction that the people of the 2nd congressional district deserve a truly independent voice in Congress," Kelly said in a statement.
“This has been a very hard decision, but it is the right one.”
Kelly joins several recent dropouts, including businessman Jack McDonald, a well-funded challenger to Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) who announced last week that he wouldn't run. The others are Ohio state Rep. Todd Book, who was running against Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio); former Tennessee Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Paula Flowers, who was running for Rep. Zach Wamp's (R-Tenn.) seat; and Solana Beach City Councilman Dave Roberts, who was running against Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.).
Both McDonald and Kelly were cited in a late October memo from DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) that touted the committee's recruiting successes.
On top of that, Democrats have lost four incumbents in vulnerable districts to retirement recently. It has been a distinct shift, taking five seats off the map on offense and adding four on defense.