Hastert Expected To Retire This Weekend

Obviously, this would have been bigger news if it happened a few years ago, but former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert is expected to retire this weekend.

The congressional retirement season has started, and it appears former Speaker Dennis Hastert may soon announce his own plans to ride off into the sunset.

The Illinois Republican sent supporters a letter over the weekend asking them to join him for a speech this Friday at the Kendall County Courthouse in Yorkville, Ill.

The letter does not say whether he’ll run for reelection in 2008 or announce his retirement, but speculation skews heavily toward retirement. And neither Hastert nor his aides have done much to dispel the widely accepted opinion back home that he’ll call it quits. For example, an aide did not respond to an e-mail about the weekend letter.

Like the retirement of Ray LaHood a few weeks ago, Hastert’s decision to leave Congress isn’t a monumental thing all by itself. But it adds another district the GOP has to protect. With limited resources (yes, we once again have more money than they do), the Republicans are going to have to make tough choices – where do they play, and whether they need to protect seats or go after seats held by vulnerable Democrats. With each retirement, the chances of the GOP retaking Congress get slimmer and slimmer (and no, that wasn’t a shot at Hastert’s weight).

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