ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Democrats may or may not be advancing the ball on health care reform. But the goal line is set to move a little closer.
Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ga., announced today that he plans to resign his seat, effective at the close of business next Monday, to focus on his campaign for governor.
That means the total number of House members will be 431 -- and the magic number to pass a bill drops to 216 as of Tuesday, March 9. That’s still no easy task -- but every vote counts in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bid to pass health care reform.
Deal’s announcement comes a day after the resignation of an all-but-sure “yes” vote for Democrats: Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii. Abercrombie, like Deal, is running for governor, and wants to concentrate on his campaign full-time.
The other two vacancies were also previously held by Democrats who were likely to support the health care bill: Robert Wexler, D-Fla., stepped down from his House seat in January to become executive director of the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation; and Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., passed away last month.
Wexler’s seat will be the first among the four vacancies to be filled. The primary in that race is tomorrow, and the general election will be held April 6 .