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4th Texas Republican Announces Retirement and the ‘Texodus’ is Not Over Yet

Texodus

Texas Rep. Ken Marchant became the fourth Republican congressman from the Lone Star state to announce his retirement in the last two weeks.

Marchant announced his retirement Monday, days after Texas Reps. Will Hurd, Pete Olson, and Mike Conaway in leaving the House of Representatives.

Marchant is an eight-term incumbent but only narrowly won his re-election race last year as Democrats mounted a takeover of the House. The departure opens up a major pick-up opportunity for Democrats in 2020.

“Senior lawmakers don't typically give up their seats voluntarily. Open seats are far harder and more costly to defend. Democrats have had a half-dozen Texas seats on their target list for months, and in February they placed three Lone Star State incumbents on a ‘retirement watch’ list,” The Dallas Morning News reported. “Two of those are now retiring: Marchant and Rep. Pete Olson of Sugar Land, who announced he would not seek a seventh term on July 25.”

‘Safe’ Republican also not running:

Mike Conaway, the former chairman of the Agriculture Committee, also announced he would retire after eight terms in the House. Unlike the other vulnerable Republicans, Conaway won his 2018 re-election bid with 80% of the vote.

Conaway was quickly joined by Will Hurd, the only black Republican in the House. Hurd won his seat by fewer than 1,000 votes in 2018.

"The reality for vulnerable Washington Republicans of defending their deeply unpopular health care repeal agenda is setting in for Republican incumbents from Kenny Marchant to Will Hurd to Pete Olson," said Rep. Cheri Bustos, chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

‘Texodus’ isn’t over yet:

Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report remarked on Twitter that the departures, labeled “Texodus” by excited Democrats, is likely not over yet.

“In 2018, six GOP House incumbents from TX won their races by less than 5%. Three of them (Olson, Hurd and Marchant) are retiring so far and I’d be really surprised if they’re the last,” he wrote.

RealClearPolitics’ Sean Trende tweeted that “People grossly oversold GOP vulnerability in TX pre-Trump and are grossly underselling it now. Texas is an overwhelmingly urban/suburban state, so GOP weakening in the suburbs is felt disproportionately in TX. It could go blue, quickly, under this current configuration.”