Noted by Reid Wilson and delighting the Kossacks, New Jersey Rep. Mike Ferguson has announced his retirement from the House, bringing the total of open, currently Republican-held seats for the cycle to 17. Presently, the Democrats have only six open seats to hold. Including Ferguson, at least eight of the districts that the GOP needs to hold are much more competitive and more likely to change hands, and the Democrats face no similar challenge with their seats.
A Kean bid would be the GOP’s best hope in keeping a district that gave President Bush just a 3,000-vote margin over Al Gore in 2000, and a wider 6-point edge in 2004. Still, the loss of a seasoned campaigner like Ferguson is another blow to the NRCC, which can’t take much more punishment these days.
Update: Chris Cilizza adds that Kean Jr. has definitely ruled out a House run for next year, which puts NJ-07 well within the Democrats’ reach. The Democrats, meanwhile, are going to have a candidate who nearly won the district last time. Wilson has more.