The more than 60 Republican contenders for open Congressional seats obviously didn’t get the memo.
The prevailing narrative has gone something like this: retirement announcements from Republican Texas Congressmen is a prediction of sweeping Democratic victories in those districts in 2020 (because what other reason would they have to retire?).
Not only did a standard number of Congressmen from Texas retire in 2019, but now at least 63 candidates are in the running for those districts as the deadline to file passed Monday night.
Mike Conway‘s long-rumored retirement turned out to be true. As such, 11 are running for the 11th District: J.D. Faircloth, Cynthia J. Breyman, Robert Tucker, August Pfluger, J. Ross Lacy, Ned Luscombe, Brandon Batch, Jamie Berryhill, Wesley W. Virdell, Gene Barber, and Casey Gray.
In Mac Thornberry‘s sweeping Congressional district, a colorful field has emerged — from conservative firebrand Chris Ekstrom to someone who’s ballot name is sure to be contested: Catherine “I Swear” Carr. Candidates include Carr, Ekstrom, Josh Winegarner, Vance Snider II, Diane Knowlton, Jamie Culley, Jason Foglesong, Elaine Hays, Richard Herman, Monique Worthy, Matt McArthur, Lee Harvey, Mark Neese, Ronny Jackson, and Asusena Resendiz.
In Congressional District 17, Bill Flores is retiring, which drew in former Dallas-area Congressman Pete Sessions, who grew up in the area. Though Flores said earlier he preferred local talent to rise up and run, 11 other candidates threw their hat in the ring. Candidates include Sessions, Scott Bland, George Hindman, Ahmad Adnan, Todd Kent, Renee Swann, Trent Sutton, Kristen Alamo Rowin, Laruie Godfrey McReynolds, David Saucedo, Elianor Vessali, and Jeff Oppenheim.
As a case study, U.S. Rep. Pete Olson‘s 22nd Congressional District has a reported 12 Republican candidates in the running. Pierce Bush, grandson of President George H.W. Bush, threw his hat in the ring at the last hour, drawing media attention.
Also in the running to succeed Olson is Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls, who also announced late on Saturday. Kathaleen Wall, a well-known Republican donor who dropped over $5 million in 2018 in Congressional District 2, is a candidate. Other names include Dan Matthews, Reddy Banger, Greg Hill, Aaron Hermes, Matt Hinton, John Camarillo, Diana Miller, Joe Walz, and Shandon Phan.
Congressman Will Hurd‘s announcement to not seek re-election immediately drew the attention of recognizable activist Alma Arredondo-Lynch. Over the rest of the filing period, a diverse field began to emerge including Ben Van Winkle, Alia Ureste, Tony Gonzales, Alma Arredondo-Lynch, Raul Reyes, Jeff McFarlin, Cecil B. “Burt” Jones, Sharon Breckenridge Thomas, and Darwin Boedeker.
Kenny Marchant was the fourth to announce his retirement, and the prospective GOP field only grew to five candidates: regional HUD administrator and Irving Mayor prospect Beth Van Duyne, Desi Maes, Jeron Liverman, David Fegan, and Sunny Chaparala.
From the hip: We’ve heard enough about a so-called “Texodus” (an abuse of the earlier-coined term, by the way) and the rise of liberal voters in these districts that there’s really no need to give the Democrats any more free publicity than they have already received from the mainstream press. For now, more than 60 Republicans are putting their money on the table, wagering these districts are safe and sound for the GOP. That’s the takeaway here. Everything else will be sorted out in the months ahead.