4th Texas Republican in two weeks decides to bail on Congress


Rep. Kenny Marchant is also the seventh House Republican to announce his retirement in the past two weeks.

Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX) is widely expected to announce on Monday that he will not seek reelection, according to the Texas Tribune. Marchant will be the seventh Republican in less than two weeks to announce their retirement and the fourth from Texas.

Representing the northern suburbs of Dallas and Fort Worth, Marchant entered Congress in 2004 and was a founding member of the congressional Tea Party Caucus, according to the Tribune. Marchant easily won reelection in 2016, but faced a much tougher race in 2018, winning by a mere 3 points.

Before he called it quits, Democrats were already targeting Marchant as a prime opportunity to expand their majority in 2020. When fellow Texan Rep. Will Hurd announced his retirement, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) put out a statement predicting Marchant was among those Republicans across the Lone Star State who were "freaking out."

"The only thing sticking around guarantees these Texas Republicans is another opportunity to explain their deeply unpopular position on health care repeal that would end protections for people with pre-existing conditions and raise costs for Texas families," the statement added.

Democrats seem to be eyeing several Texas House seats in 2020 in the same way they targeted several California seats in 2018.

In 2018, the DCCC opened an office in Orange County, California, which was a traditionally Republican area. In that midterm election, Democrats flipped seven California House seats from red to blue, including ousting every Republican representing Orange County. That effort was aided by several Republicans opting to retire rather than run for reelection.

In 2019, the DCCC is opening an office in Austin and targeting six Texas House seats in 2020. Three of those targets — Marchant, Hurd, and Rep. Ted Olsen — have already retired. An additional Texas Republican, Rep. Mike Conaway, also decided to quit.

Republicans rushing to the exits have spooked some members of the party into thinking their chances of taking back the majority in the House is getting further out of reach. Even one GOP member of Congress recently said, "The odds are against us retaking the majority."

Hopes of Republicans retaking the majority are slowly dripping away, one retirement at a time. Marchant is expected to be the seventh shoe to drop in two weeks, and consultants expect the trend to continue for the next few months.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.