On Wednesday, GOP Rep. Bill Flores announced that he would not seek a sixth term in Texas' solidly red 17th Congressional District.
Flores’ decision makes him the fifth Texas Republican who is leaving the House this cycle, and his decision came as a big surprise to local politicos: The Texas Tribune's Evan Smith tweeted that, while he'd long believed another two members of the state's congressional delegation might retire, Flores was not among those names. The Lone Star State's candidate filing deadline is in early December, so we still have three more months to see just how large the Texodus grows.
Flores is also the 14th Republican member of the House who has opted not to seek re-election this term; two more have resigned or will soon do so. By contrast, just four House Democrats have decided to leave the chamber so far, including California Rep. Susan Davis (see our CA-53 item). Flores' seat, which includes College Station, Waco, and a slice of the Austin suburbs, supported Donald Trump by a wide 56-39 margin, but Republican Sen. Ted Cruz defeated Beto O'Rourke here last year by a narrower 54-45 spread. This district should remain in Republican hands, but it's possible the trends here could give Democrats an opening.
In addition, Flores is now the third GOP House member elected during the 2010 red wave who is retiring (the two House Republicans who decided to resign, Pennsylvania's Tom Marino and Wisconsin's Sean Duffy, also were part of the class of 2010). That year, Flores, who led a natural gas company, decided to run for office for the first time against battle-tested Democratic Rep. Chet Edwards.
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