In a move that was not all surprising to people who knew Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the 13-term lawmaker and ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee announced Monday he would not seek re-election in 2020.
Coming on the heels of Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., resignation from office the same day, Thornberry's announcement makes him the 17th Republican House Member to retire, resign, or seek another office next year.
More interesting, Thornberry, 61, is the sixth Republican House Member from Texas to call it quits before 2020. This surprising exodus of Members — mostly from safe districts — in one state that was recently dubbed "Texodus" on a Fox News report.
"It definitely means a loss of clout for our state in Congress," former Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who retired in 2018 after 32 years in office, told Newsmax.
Wayne Thorburn, former executive director of the Texas GOP and author of the much-praised book "Red State: An Insider's Story of How the GOP Came to Dominate Texas Politics," told us "there is no question as to whether the loss of six incumbents will impact the ability of the GOP to retain its dominance of congressional districts in Texas."
But, Thorburn, pointed out, "the districts vary greatly, however, and depending on candidate quality most can be retained."
Thornberry got 80% of the vote against both a Democratic and a Libertarian opponent in 2018.
"I'd be worried about [Reps. Kenny] Marchant and [Pete] Olson's districts since they are clearly suburban and impacted by the anti-Trump sentiment," Thorburn said. "[Reps. Mike] Conaway, Thornberry and [Bill] Flores represent smaller urban areas with a large rural contingent, where Trump should be more popular."
The major worry for Republicans in Texas, said Thorburn, is over the heavily Hispanic 23rd District relinquished by Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas (who is black).
But he did not worry there is a strong Hispanic candidate for the Republican nomination in retired Navy cryptologist Tony Gonzales. The Democratic candidate is retired U.S. Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Lopez, who came within 1,000 votes of unseating Hurd last year.
Two conservative Republicans are expected to vie for the all-important Republican nomination to succeed Thornberry — State Sen. Pat Fallon of Prosper and State Rep. Four Price (Walter Thomas Price, IV) of Amarillo.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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