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U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry Will Not Run For Reelection, Marking The 6th Recent GOP Retirement In Texas

U.S. Capitol building

U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, announced Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2020, making him the sixth GOP congressman from Texas to say he's retiring in recent weeks.

"It has been a great honor for me to represent the people of the 13th District of Texas for the last 25 years," he said in a statement.

“We are reminded, however, that 'for everything there is a season,' and I believe that the time has come for a change. Therefore, I will not be a candidate for reelection in the 2020 election."

Thornberry joins five other Texas Republicans in Congress who are not running for reelection — U.S. Reps. Kenny Marchant, Pete Olson, Mike Conaway, Will Hurd and Bill Flores. But Thornberry's exit is somewhat different from other Republicans' shocking retirements over the summer. The last remaining Texan from the class of 1994 and the dean of the GOP delegation, Thornberry was expected by many to retire soon. He will turn over his post leading the Republican side of the House Armed Services Committee in January 2021, thanks to Republican term limits for committee chairmanships.

“With over a year to go, I will continue to represent the people of the 13th District to the best of my ability, " Thornberry said. "Our nation faces many difficult challenges, and none of us can relax our efforts to meet and overcome them, whether at home or around the world."

Thornberry's district includes parts of 41 counties, including most of the Texas Panhandle, and it's solidly Republican. President Donald Trump won 80% of the vote there in 2016. Thornberry defeated his opponent Democrat Greg Sagan in the 2018 midterm election with 82% of the vote.

Because of this, it’s likely the race for Thornberry’s seat will be open and shut during the Republican primary. But Sagan, a Vietnam veteran, has indicated he will run again in 2020.

Gabe Schneider contributed reporting.

The Texas Tribune provided this story.

Patrick Svitek is a reporter for the Texas Tribune. He previously worked for the Houston Chronicle's Austin bureau. He graduated in 2014 from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He originally is from Fort Wayne, Indiana.