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Hobson Adds To GOP Retirement Woes

Rep. David Hobson (R-Ohio) has joined the growing ranks of House Republican retirements. Hobson's possible departure had been widely speculated upon in the last several days.

The AP reports: "Rep. David Hobson, a nine-term Republican from Ohio, announced plans to retire Sunday, the 12th member of his party to do so since the beginning of the year.

"I wanted to go out on top," said Hobson, who said his health is good. He would have faced token opposition at best had he sought a new term.

Hobson announced his retirement plans in a speech in his home district. In a telephone interview, he said he had been thinking about retiring for quite a while, and "almost did not run last year."

Republicans have been working to hold down the number of retirements in advance of the 2008 elections, when they will be attempting to regain the majority they lost in 2006. Hobson has had no difficulty prevailing in his district, and it was not immediately clear how strong an effort Democrats might mount for the seat."

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) will now faces questions over the fact that three of the 11 Republicans (Hobson, Ralph Regula and Deborah Pryce) who have announced their retirement this year come from the Buckeye State, Boehner's home. While the AP states that "Republicans have been working to hold down the number of retirements in advance of the 2008 elections," but more than a quarter of those who are leaving come from Ohio. That's not good news for Boehner since the NRCC will now have to spend a lot of money in Ohio just to defend seats the party already controls. And with the GOP committee's money woes and leadership problems already, Republicans face a potential disaster in '08.

Also, looking at the broader geographican pattern of GOP retirements, it's worth noting that most are from the Midwest - Regula, Hobson and Pryce from Ohio, Dennis Hastert, Jerry Weller and Ray LaHood from Illinois, and Jim Ramstad from Minnesota. Reps. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.), Terry Everett (R-Ala.) and Chip Pickering (R-Miss.) round out the group. Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) is running for retiring Sen. Pete Domenici's (R-N.M.) Senate seat and may end up leaving the House, while veteran Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) is running for president, leading to a lot of speculation over his own future.