Weeks after failing in his bid to become the next President of Bradley University, Republican Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois' 18th District has announced tonight that he will retire after seven terms in the House, according to the Associated Press.
LaHood's retirement will create an open seat in the 2008 elections, and provide Democrats an opportunity (if only a tough one) of picking up another seat in the House. With a PVI of R+5.5, the 18th District supported Bush by a 54-44 margin in 2000, and by a wider 58-42 margin in 2004. It would certainly be a tough district for any Democrat to win next year, but House Democrats have proven to be more able campaigners in red territory than Republicans are in bluer turf. Indeed, seven of last year's 30 Democratic pick-ups in the House came in even redder districts than LaHood's.
Keep your eyes peeled on this race. It may be a tough nut to crack, but the NRCC can ill-afford too many more retirements like this one.