Sep 30, 2019

Rep. Mac Thornberry is the 6th Texas Republican to announce retirement

Rep. Mac Thornberry. Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) announced Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2020, becoming the 6th Texas Republican — and 19th Republican overall — to retire from the House this term.

Why it matters: Republicans hope to reclaim the House in 2020, but early retirements could complicate that task. Thornberry's retirement means that more than a quarter of Texas' 23 House Republicans will leave at the end of this term, further complicating the party's status in a state that is becoming increasingly competitive for Democrats.

House GOP Texas seats now up for grabs in 2020:

  • Rep. Mike Conaway, 11th district
  • Rep. Mac Thornberry, 13th district
  • Rep. Bill Flores, 17th district
  • Rep. Pete Olson, 22nd district
  • Rep. Will Hurd, 23rd district
  • Rep. Kenny Marchant, 24th district

What they're saying: "With over a year to go, I will continue to represent the people of the 13th District to the best of my ability. Our nation faces many difficult challenges, and none of us can relax our efforts to meet and overcome them, whether at home or around the world," Thornberry, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.

Of note: Thornberry overwhelmingly won re-election in 2018, earning more than 80% of his district's votes.

Go deeper: Shifting demographics could bring Texas into play for Democrats in 2020

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Texas Republicans admit there's a problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The retirement of six House Republicans from Texas at the end of this term shows their pessimism about winning back the House majority in 2020, GOP strategists tell Axios — and foreshadows bigger Republican fears in the nation's second most populous state.

The big picture: The GOP recognizes they can no longer ignore their Democratic opponents and count on coasting to re-election in this previously-reliable red state.

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The members of Congress departing in 2020

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More Republicans than Democrats are exiting Congress in the lead up to the 2020 elections. Twenty-six GOP representatives and four senators are retiring without bids for higher office, compared to five Democratic representatives and one senator.

Driving the news: Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) submitted his letter of resignation, effective Jan. 13, after pleading guilty last month to misusing campaign funds.

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13 Republicans involved in impeachment protest already have access to hearings

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

13 of the 41 Republican lawmakers who were listed by Rep. Matt Gaetz as planning to storm a closed-door hearing Wednesday to protest an alleged lack of transparency in the impeachment inquiry sit on committees with the power to question witnesses and review documents.

The big picture: The inquiry is currently being led by the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees, which are comprised of 48 Republicans in total. House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) has asked the House Sergeant at Arms to "take action" against the members involved in Wednesday's protest, after lawmakers reportedly brought cellphones inside the classified room and forced the deposition to be delayed for five hours.

Go deeperArrowOct 23, 2019