It’s not just Hosni Mubarak; multiple reports have confirmed that Jon Kyl, the number 2 in the GOP leadership in the Senate, will not seek re-election. He will announce this at a news conference in Phoenix, one originally scheduled for 10 am, now postponed until noon.

No word on whether Kyl and Mubarak will simply switch places. It’s not like Arizona is less of a police state, after all.

Kyl will become the fifth Senator, 21 months before the next election, to announce their retirement. Kent Conrad, Joe Lieberman, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Jim Webb have all said they wouldn’t run again. This seems highly unusual to have so many retirements this far. Two years ago, George Voinovich and Kit Bond retired fairly early in the cycle, and Mel Martinez by the middle of 2009, but most of the other retirements – Chris Dodd, Byron Dorgan, Evan Bayh – happened much later.

The way I see it is this. We’re down to 95 Senators. At this rate, we’ll have nobody running for re-election by July. Maybe we ought to just collapse the Senate and continue with a Congress of the people rather than the horribly distorted, malapportioned, obstructionist mess we have now.

Imagine there’s no Senate, it’s easy if you try….

…More seriously, thoughts turn to who would replace Kyl. About the only Democrat who could put that seat in play is Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano, and given how far to the right Arizona has seemed to move lately, I’m not sure even she can make a race of it. Interestingly enough, one of the leading Democratic possibilities to challenge Kyl in 2012, thought as a rising star in state politics, was Gaby Giffords.

…This presser actually did come off at 10am (Mountain time), and Kyl officially announced he wouldn’t seek re-election. The turnover in the US Senate is really something to watch. By 2012 we could have half the place flipped in the space of 6 years.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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