HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — The Philadelphia suburbs are experiencing an exodus of veteran members of the state legislature’s Republican party majority.

At the top of the list of those GOP lawmakers who’ve recently announced they won’t seek re-election is 78 year-old Stewart Greenleaf, the longtime chairman of the influential Senate Judiciary Committee.

That list also includes 18-term House member Robert Godshall, as well as Representative Kathy Watson and Senator Chuck McIlinney. Franklin and Marshall College political analyst Terry Madonna believes there are a number of reasons for the spate of retirements.

“I think it’s probably a combination of lengthy service, when you serve for decades, and they’re in a legislature that not arguably has been bitterly torn by partisanship,” Madonna said.

The result, Madonna says, will be races that will be more competitive in the fall, creating more opportunities for Democrats to pick up seats in the GOP-controlled legislature.