Veteran Texas Rep. Joe Barton (R-Ennis), a former Energy & Commerce Committee chairman, has apparently taken the advice he was reportedly receiving from many local Republican leaders and activists advising him not to seek re-election.
Mr. Barton, recently coming under attack when his nude picture taken during a previous consensual sexual relationship surfaced on Twitter, announced yesterday through social media that he will end his 34-year congressional career when the current Congress adjourns.
Mr. Barton had already filed to run in 2018, but will now withdraw his paperwork prior to Texas’ December 11th candidate filing deadline. We expect to see several Republicans come forward to run in what will be the first open 6th District contest since 1984. Immediately, Tarrant County Tax Assessor Ron Wright announced that he would enter the newly open Republican primary.
The 6th District performs as a safe Republican seat beginning in the Arlington area of Tarrant County, which is the population anchor, before continuing southeast to annex Ellis and Navarro Counties. President Trump carried the 6th, 54-42%, down a bit from Mitt Romney’s 2012 performance of 58-41% against President Obama.
Five Democrats previously announced their candidacies, but none are viewed as particularly viable. Now that the seat is open, more prominent party leaders may come forward to run, but the electorate here is a virtual lock to continue performing as a safe Republican seat.
Mr. Barton now becomes the 39th Representative to bypass their next re-election, and the 26th Republican. Of Texas’ 36 congressional seats, seven will be open in 2018, six from Republican districts in addition to one West Texas Democratic CD.