TX-29: Longtime Rep. Gene Green announced on Monday that he would retire in this safely blue Houston seat less than a month ahead of the Dec. 11 candidate filing deadline. Green’s potential successors don’t have much time to make up their minds, and state Sen. Sylvia Garcia and state Rep. Armando Walle each quickly announced that they would seek the Democratic nod.
Garcia is a longtime Houston politician whom the Texas Tribune’s Abby Livingston says will have plenty of establishment support. Garcia’s state Senate seat also takes up about 90 percent of the 29th Congressional District, so she should have plenty of name recognition. Walle was a staffer for Green before he was elected to the state House in 2008.
Plenty of other Democrats are also eyeing this seat. Ex-Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia has not said anything publicly yet, but the chair of the county Democratic Party said he requested filling paperwork on Monday. Garcia ran for higher office twice last cycle, but neither bid went very well. When Garcia decided to run for mayor of Houston in 2015, he was legally required to resign as sheriff. There was no question that a Republican would be named as his replacement, and his decision to resign and run alienated some of his Democratic allies. (Democrat Ed Gonzalez ended up unseating the appointed Republican the next year.) Garcia's mayoral rivals also questioned his performance while in office, especially when it came to handling the county jail. While Garcia spent months looking like at least one of the two frontrunners, he took third place in the non-partisan primary with 17 percent of the vote.
About a month after his defeat, Garcia launched a surprise primary challenge against Green. Garcia argued that the district, which is predominantly Hispanic, would benefit from having a Hispanic representing it instead of an Anglo congressman like Green, and even kicked off his campaign by arguing that he’s “not challenging Gene Green. I'm challenging Donald Trump.” However, prominent local Hispanic politicians sided with Green, and Garcia never raised much money in the short amount of time he had to campaign. Green ended up winning renomination 57-39.
A few other Democrats are eyeing this seat. A consultant for state Rep. Carol Alvarado says she’s “seriously considering” getting in, while Livingston writes that state Rep. Ana Hernandez and attorney Beto Cardenas, who worked for both Bill Clinton and ex-GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, are both thinking about running. So far, neither Hernandez nor Cardenas has said anything publicly. If no one takes a majority in the primary, there will be a runoff.