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After seriously considering a campaign for higher office, State Rep. Matt Shaheen (R–Plano) has announced that he will instead run for re-election to his current seat.

Over the past few months Shaheen has flirted with a run for the Texas Senate to replace outgoing State Sen. Van Taylor (R–Plano), who is expected to run for Congress to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson). But on Friday he announced that he will instead be running for re-election to the Texas House.

Shaheen made the announcement on Facebook.

“After much prayer, counsel and reflection on the Special Session, I have decided to seek another term in the Texas House of Representatives serving the citizens of House District 66,” said Shaheen. “It is clear that the battle for the future of a better Texas lies in the House of Representatives and I belong in that fight.”

The final part of the statement is certainly true. Since his election in 2014, Shaheen has been a conservative champion in the Texas House and has been named a “Taxpayer Champion” in each session by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. He’s also a member of the Texas Freedom Caucus, which has been leading the fight for conservative reforms in the lower chamber.

“I can’t wait to see what Matt Shaheen and the Texas Freedom Caucus do next! I’m delighted to hear that Matt Shaheen will be seeking our vote to continue his great work in the Texas House,” said Brian Newman, leader of the McKinney Tea Party. “Matt, you have my full support. You are a great leader and your work this session has been exemplary.”

Shaheen’s decision was also applauded by Michael Quinn Sullivan, president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.

“Matt Shaheen’s thoughtful decision to stay in the Texas House is a good one for all Texans. Like never before, taxpayers need principled, thoughtful champions standing strong against the crony cartel in the legislature’s lower chamber,” said Sullivan.

Shaheen’s decision appears to clear the field in what was initially expected to be a crowded Republican primary race in Senate District 8. Earlier this year, conservatives believed that Shaheen, State Rep. Jeff Leach (R–Plano), and businessman Phillip Huffines (an identical twin brother of Republican State Sen. Don Huffines of Dallas) could all enter the race.

However, Leach decided to pass on a run earlier this year, and now Huffines is the only one left in the ring. Should he win the Republican primary he would be expected to coast through the general election in the staunchly conservative district, which is composed of portions of Collin and Dallas counties.

Huffines appears to be taking nothing for granted, and activists across SD 8 have told Texas Scorecard they have been impressed at how aggressively he has been campaigning. He’s done even better on the fundraising end. In the first three months of his campaign, Huffines raised over $550,000 and loaned himself $1.5 million. In a statement, Phillip Huffines praised Shaheen’s decision.

“Matt Shaheen is a principled conservative and a true patriot.  The constituents of House District 66 are fortunate to have him serve as their representative in the Texas House,” said Huffines. “I look forward to working with Representative Shaheen on the campaign trail.  Our campaign will continue to work hard to put out our conservative message, and earn every vote.  We gain momentum every day.”

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