5th House Republican from Texas bails on seeking reelection in 2020


Rep. Bill Flores joins the so-called 'Texodus' of Texas Republicans refusing to run for reelection next year.

Rep. Bill Flores is joining a quickly growing list of Republicans refusing to run for reelection next year, he announced Wednesday morning. Flores, who represents a rural district outside of Austin, Texas, becomes the 14th Republican to hang up his spurs rather run again next year.

"After much prayer over the past few days and following conversations with my wife, Gina, during that time, I have decided that my current term will be my last," Flores said in a statement. Flores spent the last few years reliably advancing the Trump agenda, voting with Trump 98% of the time. He won reelection in 2018 by a comfortable 57-41 margin.

Flores' announcement comes barely a week after reality star-turned-congressman Sean Duffy of Wisconsin announced he will quit Congress in September. Duffy had previously complained that his $174,000 annual salary was too low.

Flores is the fifth Texas Republican in the House opting to take a pass next year. Democrats are already targeting six Texas House seats to flip from red to blue, and have repeatedly referred to the cascade of Texas Republican retirements as the "Texodus."

Earlier this year, Democrats announced plans to open a field office in Austin, following a successful 2018 strategy of opening a field office in the previous Republican stronghold of Orange County, California. That investment helped pave the way for Democrats to flip seven California seats in the 2018 midterm, and the party is hoping for a similar outcome in Texas in 2020.

"When it comes to places where House Democrats can go on offense, it doesn’t get any bigger than Texas," Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in April.

And Republicans are beginning to be worried about their chances in the Lone Star state as well.

"Republicans need to be very concerned about Texas," Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) told Politico in early August. "Texas is definitely in play."

In addition to defending House seats abandoned by sitting Republicans, Texas also has a Senate race that could be competitive. And although the state has been reliably Republican in presidential contests, Trump's unpopularity in the state means there is a chance the 2020 Democratic nominee could flip the state and pick up its 38 electoral votes.

Flores' retirement announcement is yet another sign that Texas Republicans may be in big trouble next year.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.