At first glance, it certainly looks like the retirement of Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) could set up a strong pick-up opportunity for the Republicans.
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Gordon himself has been re-elected by overwhelming margins, but the district's voting patterns have otherwise shown a decided swing to the Republicans. It was an approximate 49%-49% tie between George W. Bush and Al Gore in 2000, but then voted for Bush by 60%-40% in 2004, and for John McCain by 62%-37% in 2008.
"Well, I'm not gonna blow smoke on this. That district has trended Republican for years," a Democratic source bluntly admitted, though he wasn't giving up hope. "But having said that, there are still plenty of folks in that area, they've shown their independent-minded streak before."
NRCC spokesman Ken Spain put out a triumphant statement: "It's official: Democrats now have a retirement problem. After being forced to toe the line for Nancy Pelosi's reckless agenda too many times, Blue Dog Democrats would rather roll over and retire than face the political headwind that is barreling toward them. This is evidence of the fact that the Obama-Pelosi agenda of government takeovers, permanent bailouts, and fewer jobs is taking a political and mental toll even on incumbent Democrats who were once-perceived to be firmly entrenched."