U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) announced he would not seek re-election, becoming the sixth Republican from Texas and 17th Republican nationally to do so.

U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry

U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry

“It has been a great honor for me to represent the people of the 13th District of Texas for the last 25 years,” Thornberry said in a statement. “We are reminded, however, that ‘for everything there is a season,’ and I believe that the time has come for a change.”

Thornberry, who was first elected in 1994, is term-limited as the top Republican member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee. He raised $206K during the second quarter and had just over $700K on hand as of June 30.

The district contains much of SD31, currently held by Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) and all or significant portions of HD68, held by Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster); HD69, held by Rep. James Frank (R-Wichita Falls); HD86, held by Rep. John Smithee (R-Amarillo); and HD87, held by Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo); and half of HD88, held by Rep. Ken King (R-Canadian).

Amarillo council member Elaine Hays announced in a statement that she has “decided to explore running” for the seat. She unsuccessfully challenged Thornberry in the three-way 2014 Republican primary (19%). Josh Winegarner, government affairs director for the Texas Cattle Feeders Assoc. and a former U.S. Senate aide, is also reportedly considering the race.

CD13 is overwhelmingly Republican. In 2018, it was 27 percentage points redder than the state as a whole, making it the most Republican congressional district in the state. Greg Sagan, the 2018 Democratic nominee who is running again in 2020, received just 17% of the vote against Thornberry.

U.S. Reps. Mike Conaway (R-Midland), Bill Flores (R-Bryan), Will Hurd (R-San Antonio), Kenny Marchant (R-Coppell) and Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land) have previously announced their intentions to retire.

HD8: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) endorsed Rep. Cody Harris (R-Palestine) for re-election.

HD76: Elisa Tamayo, a former aide to Rep. Cesar Blanco (D-El Paso), announced she would seek his seat as he runs for open SD29. We previously reported she had established a campaign committee for the race.

CD7: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) endorsed Republican challenger Wesley Hunt in the race to challenge U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Houston).

CD31: Cedar Park asset protection agent and retired Naval Reservist Roderick Kutch established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of U.S. Rep. John Carter (R-Round Rock) as a Democrat. He is at least the 11th Democrat to take a formal step toward the race.

PRES: President Trump will hold a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on October 17.

Harris Co.: District Judge Maria T. Jackson (D), the longest-serving felony court judge in the county, has resigned. She is expected to seek another office but was barred by the Texas Constitution from announcing her plans while still in office. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will appoint her successor who will serve the 339th District Court until 2020.

Smith Co.: Tyler council member Bob Westbrook announced he would challenge Smith Co. Comm. Terry Phillips (R) in the Republican primary. Phillips was first elected in 2009. Westbrook, a past chair of the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce, was first elected to the council in 2017 and was re-elected earlier this year.

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