The campaign arm of the House Republicans on Tuesday named U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter to a list of Democratic incumbents the group is trying to nudge toward retirement rather than a run for re-election next year.
The Arvada Democrat is among 13 House Democrats added by the National Republican Congressional Committee to the 27 members already on its "Exit List," which includes a handful of Democrats who have announced their retirement or are running for higher office.
Perlmutter is seeking a ninth term in Colorado's redrawn 7th Congressional District, a Democratic-leaning seat that covers Jefferson County and a swath of mountain counties stretching south past Cañon City. So far, his only Republican challenger is former legislative candidate Laurel Imer, an outspoken supporter of former President Donald Trump.
“Every House Democrat has a choice to make over the Thanksgiving holiday: retire or lose," said U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, the Minnesota Republican who chairs the NRCC, in a statement. "So far 17 Democrats have made the smart choice to quit.”
The latest attack follows the group's addition of Perlmutter to its expanded list of Democratic targets earlier this month on the heels of strong GOP performance in the Virginia and New Jersey off-year elections. Last week, the conservative American Action Network launched a six-figure TV buy linking Perlmutter to the Build Back Better Act, the Biden administration's $1.75 trillion domestic policy package approved by the House on Friday.
The NRCC's Exit List includes House Democrats the group is predicting will retire or run for another office. So far, 17 House Democrats — and 11 House Republicans — have announced they aren't going to seek another term, according to Ballotpedia. The list includes several in each party who are running for the Senate or other statewide offices, along with some who have been drawn into districts with other incumbents in the redistricting process.
For months, the NRCC has been talking up Perlmutter's increased vulnerability in the redrawn district, though Democrats have out-performed Republicans in the district by an average 6.9 points in recent elections according to data compiled by the state's independent redistricting commission.
While the existing 7th CD encompasses the more densely populated neighborhoods of central and northern Jefferson County and western Adams County, the newly configured district covers all of Jefferson County and Broomfield, along with mountain counties Park, Lake, Chaffee, Teller, Fremont and Custer, along with tiny slivers of a few other counties.
“I’m excited to meet the many new voters who live in the new and incredibly beautiful 7th Congressional District," Perlmutter told Colorado Politics in an earlier statement.
"Though the new district is much larger and expands beyond the suburbs, the issues facing us are the same. We want a strong economy, a solid education for our children, to tackle the challenges of climate change, protect our public lands, and to have the ability to save for retirement and live our Colorado way of life. It will be hard work, but together I’m optimistic about our future."
A spokeswoman for the Perlmutter campaign declined to comment on the latest move by the NRCC.
First elected in 2006, Perlmutter has won re-election every time since by double-digit margins, including by 25 points over Republican nominee Mark Barrington in 2018 and by nearly 22 points last year over GOP nominee Casper Stockham.