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U.S. Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land) announced he would not seek re-election to a seventh term.

U.S. Rep. Pete Olson

U.S. Rep. Pete Olson

Calling his service to the district “a tremendous blessing,” Olson said his time in Congress “has come at great personal sacrifice to my family.” He cited family health issues and the need to be “a more consistent presence to help our family” as the reason for retiring. Olson said he would serve out his term.

Since Olson was elected in 2008, CD22 has shifted ever closer to partisan parity, going from 4.3 percentage points redder than the state as a whole to 0.7 percentage points bluer, with much of that shift occurring in the last two election cycles. Olson’s 5-point win over Sri Preston Kulkarni in last year’s general election was his closest race to date:

  • 2018: Olson 51%, Kulkarni 46% (4.9% margin)
  • 2016: Olson 60%, Mark Gibson 40% (19.0%)
  • 2014: Olson 67%, Frank Briscoe 32% (35.0%)
  • 2012: Olson 64%, Kesha Rogers 32% (32.1%)
  • 2010: Olson 67%, Rogers 30% (37.7%)
  • 2008: Olson 52%, U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson 45% (7.1%)

The district’s current boundaries have been in place since 2011, but the demographics are evolving rapidly, and it is one of the nation’s most diverse congressional districts. A majority of the voting-age population is nonwhite, and that percentage has shifted 6 points since the 2010 Census. National pundit Charlie Cook moved the district to “toss up” from “lean Republican” following Olson’s retirement announcement (We continue to rate it “lean Republican.”).

Olson raised $373K during the second quarter, suggesting he would seek one more term. He had one primary opponent already – Richmond business owner Joe Walz – and a likely challenger in Fort Bend Co. Sheriff Troy Nehls, who had previously considered running against Olson and has said he would decide on a 2020 run in December, when his candidacy would no longer trigger the constitutional “resign to run” provision. At least three Democratic challengers, including Kulkarni, who raised $420K during the quarter, are also in the race.

HD10 open: Republican candidate Jake Ellzey released a list of endorsements including Rep. Cody Harris (R-Palestine), U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston), three Ellis Co. commissioners, Midlothian council member Justin Coffman and former Waxahachie council member Mark Singleton.

HD66: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) endorsed Rep. Matt Shaheen (R-Plano) for re-election.

FreedomWorks Scorecard: U.S. Reps. Michael Cloud (R-Victoria), Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) and Chip Roy (R-Austin) received perfect scores from FreedomWorks on its mid-year scorecard. Others from Texas receiving gold stars were U.S. Reps. Van Taylor (R-Plano) and Ron Wright (R-Arlington) with scores of 94 and U.S. Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler), Kenny Marchant (R-Carrollton) and Randy Weber (R-Pearland) with scores of 91. The four lowest rated Republicans were U.S. Reps. Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston) at 58, Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth) at 55, Michael McCaul (R-Austin) at 52 and Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) at 39. Hurd was the 7th-lowest rated Republican nationally. No Democratic member from Texas scored above 9.

Brazos Co.: Sheriff Chris Kirk (R) announced he would not seek re-election to a seventh term.

©2019 Texas Election Source LLC