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Retiring Republicans

Will the Democrats, who recaptured the House of Representatives in 2006, be able to hold on to their majority? Political analysts are betting they will - in part because the Republicans will have to defend 25 "open" seats previously held by GOP members.

Two of those members are running for Senate, including Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico. Edweek's Erik Robelen profiled her 2004 congressional race. She defended the No Child Left Behind Act, which her opponent attacked.

But most of the open GOP seats are the result of retirements.

Who's retiring and what might those departures mean for education? Here's a quick first look:

Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia - Helped champion the District of Columbia's voucher program in the House.

Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado - A forrmer 2008 presidential candidate, on a strong immigration enforcement platform, he refused to participate in a Univision debate because his remarks would be translated into Spanish. You can read more about it in my colleague, Mary Ann Zehr's blog, "Learning the Language." Tancredo was also a regional representative for the U.S. Department of Education from 1981 to 1993.

Rep. Tancredo, Reps. Rick Renzi of Arizona, John Doolittle of California, Duncan Hunter of California, Dave Weldon of Florida, and Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland, who lost his primary bid, are all supporters of a bill sponsored by Rep. Pete Hoeskstra, R-Mich., that would allow states to "opt-out" of the No Child Left Behind Act's accountability requirements. The measure has 65 co-sponors. It will be interesting to see whether these lawmakers' successors follow their lead in supporting that legislation.

Just six seats previously held by Democrats will be "open" in Nov. 2008.

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