Note: This report has been updated since we sent our Breaking News alert to include other news from the day.
Rep. Poncho Nevárez (D-Eagle Pass) announced he would not seek re-election. “We talk about how important family and health is in all this, and as such my family needs me and I need them,” Nevárez said in a statement. “It is time to come home.”
HD74, which sprawls across 12 West Texas counties, is a likely Democratic district headed into 2020 but Republicans have made inroads. The district’s 12 counties collectively were 9 points bluer than the state as a whole in 2018, down from 20 points bluer in 2002 and 19 points bluer in 2010. Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) carried the district over U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R), 56%-43%, in 2018, two years after Hillary Clinton won the district over Donald Trump, 56%-39%.
Nevárez has not had a Republican opponent since 2012, when he defeated T.C. Kincaid Jr., 60%-40%. As far as we can tell, no other candidates had made announcements or taken any formal steps toward challening Nevárez in 2020.
He becomes the 10th representative (5 D, 5 R) serving during the 86th Legislature to announce their resignation, retirement or plans to seek another office. Former Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) resigned when he was elected mayor of Dallas, and former Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) resigned effective September 30. Rep. Cesar Blanco (D-El Paso) is running for open SD29, following Sen. Jose Rodriguez’s (D-El Paso) retirement, and Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) is challenging Sen. Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton) in SD19. Nevárez’s announcement today appears to close the door on any potential run for SD19, which overlaps much of his district.
Former Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond) resigned effective September 30. Reps. Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston), Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) and John Wray (R-Waxahachie) are not seeking re-election. Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) announced he would not seek re-election in the wake of a secretly recorded meeting with conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan.
HD45: Driftwood attorney Bud Wymore kicked off his campaign to challenge Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood). Hays Co. Sheriff Gary Cutler (R) and Hays Co. Comms. Mark Jones (R) and Walt Smith (R) spoke at his kickoff event. Wymore released a list of 170 endorsements including 2018 Republican nominee Ken Strange, former Railroad Comms. Elizabeth Ames Jones and Michael Williams, Dripping Springs council member Travis Crow and former Dripping Springs ISD board president Clarence Cobb.
HD134: Houston community organizer Tray Bridgewater established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of Rep. Sarah Davis (R-Houston) as a Democrat, but not for 2020. Bridgewater told us he would run for the seat in 2022.
CD13 open: Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson in considering running for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon), reported Politico’s Bridget Bowman. Jackson, a former White House chief physician under three presidents and President Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs before withdrawing, was born in Levelland, which is in adjacent CD19.
Houston: Renee Jefferson Smith, who finished third in the Dist. B race, is suing to remove second-place finisher Cynthia Bailey from the runoff ballot, claiming a prior felony conviction makes her ineligible.
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