After serving since 1995, U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, has announced that 2020 will be his last year in the House, as he will not seek re-election in 2020.
The announcement from Thornberry, which came via a press release from his campaign, sent shockwaves through the political world on Monday. Rumors had circulated for some time that Thornberry might not seek re-election, and his announcement on Monday followed a recent television interview with KXAN where Thornberry did not confirm whether he would run or not.
His departure from the race was followed by the first official announcement of any kind from a potential candidate, with Amarillo City Councilwoman Elaine Hays announcing she will explore a bid for his seat. Hays ran against Thornberry in the 2014 Republican primary, coming in with just under 19 percent of the vote against Thornberry’s 68 percent.
Meanwhile, Democrat congressional candidate Greg Sagan issued a statement on Thornberry’s retirement, saying he looks forward to “engaging with his successor” in the 2020 race.
“On the occasion of Congressman Thornberry’s announcement that he will not seek re-election, I join with others in thanking the congressman for his years of faithful service representing the people of Texas District 13, the state, and the nation,” Sagan said. “I appreciate his honorable conduct during the 2018 campaign, and I look forward to engaging his successor in the coming contest.”
Other candidate announcements are expected in the coming days, as several potential candidates have reportedly considered entering the race since rumors of Thornberry’s retirement first began.
Thornberry’s announcement makes him the sixth Republican congressman in Texas to announce retirement from Congress, setting off numerous primary campaigns across the state.