Rep. Ben Leman (R-Iola) announced he would not seek re-election. The former Grimes County Judge won a 2018 special election for the seat and the next two general elections.

“It is clear the current season of my public service is winding down for the near future,” Leman said in a statement. “Responsibilities and duties outside of public office will require much more of my time moving forward.”

Leman becomes the 9th legislator who has announced the intention not to seek re-election. He joins Sens. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway) and Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) and Reps. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton), Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), John Turner (D-Dallas) and James White (R-Hilister). Also not returning are former Reps. Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie), who won a special election for CD6, and Leo Pacheco (D-San Antonio), who resigned. Beckley, Buckingham, Parker and White are seeking other offices.

As it is currently configured, HD13 includes seven whole counties between Austin and Houston. Leman is from Grimes Co., at the easternmost extent of the district. Leman’s retirement could provide flexibility in drawing new House districts and eliminates a potential pairing of Republican incumbents in the area.

SD5: Leander rideshare business owner and local zoning appellate board chair Raul Camacho re-established his campaign committee for a potential run for an undetermined Senate seat. We were unable to determine his partisan affiliation conclusively. Leaner is wholly within SD5 as it is currently configured, which would represent a potential challenge of Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown). Camacho did not seek state office when his committee was last active.

HD102: Dallas resident Gary Clare established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos (D-Dallas). We were unable to identify him conclusively.

Speaker Neutrality: In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) said he “will absolutely not get involved running against incumbent members of the House.” Phelan said campaigning against incumbents does not contribute to “a good working environment” in the chamber. “There are plenty of groups in this world that fill the role of electioneering and recruiting candidates and supporting those candidates where the Speaker of the House does not need to get involved,” he said. “If I’m getting involved, it’s going to be an open seat.”

Election Legislation: Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) office announced he would sign the special session’s main election bill, Senate Bill 1 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), in Tyler tomorrow (Tuesday).

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