A Mass Texodus: Why Republicans are retiring instead of running
Editor's Note: This blog will be updated as more Texas Republicans announce their retirements.
You've seen the headlines: Democrats won two congressional seats in the last election, and 19 legislative seats in the last two elections. And now Republicans are dropping like flies.
So far, four GOP congressmen have announced their retirements in the last month.
The list of those retiring includes:
- U.S. Rep. Will Hurd of San Antonio, who won by a mere 926 votes against his Democratic challenger Gina Ortiz Jones in the 2018 midterm elections. Jones is running again, and this time, we fully expect her to flip her congressional district.
- U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant of Coppell, who is leaving open another Texas House seat that’s heavily targeted by Democrats in 2020. Marchant won reelection in 2018 by less than four percentage points.
- U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway of Midland, who said that being in the minority in the House is a "frustrating experience." Seems Republicans cannot cope with their loss of power and the results of the 2018 midterms.
- U.S. Rep. Pete Olson of Sugar Land, who narrowly won his reelection last year against his Democratic challenger Sri Kulkarni. Kulkarni is running again, and Olson’s retirement sets up what will likely be one of the most competitive House races in the country.
In addition to those congressmen, some members of the Texas House have also announced their plans to either retire or resign.
These members include:
- Texas Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, who announced that he will be resigning. His resignation is effective Sept. 30 and there will be a special election for his seat.
- Texas Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, who announced that he will not be seeking reelection. Stickland is one of the worst lawmakers to ever step foot in the Texas Capitol. Not only did he top Texas Monthly’s list of worst legislators twice, but this year, the publication created a brand new category just for him: “Cockroach.”
Just a friendly reminder that progressives only need nine more seats to flip the Texas House in 2020. That dream is becoming more and more of a reality.
In the midst of all of this, one of the biggest scandals to hit the Texas legislature in years has damaged and embarrassed Texas Republicans. Read all about the Republican Speaker’s hypocritical, and potentially illegal, bribery attempt with Empower Texans here.
By all accounts, Texas Republicans are not looking so hot going into 2020.
So why are all these Republicans leaving?
The only plausible explanation for this Texodus that these Republicans see the writing on the wall. They know when their time is up, and rather than waste money on a campaign they know they are bound to lose, they are quitting while they’re ahead.
The fact is, Texas is the biggest battleground state in the nation and progressives are lining up to flip districts. Don’t believe me? Maybe the data will change your mind.
If we’re giving credit where credit is due, we’ve got to give these retirees props. At least they know when to walk away. Hopefully, they’ll bring some of their GOP buddies along with them and avoid further embarrassment in 2020.