Mike Collier, the 2018 Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor who was reported to be considering challenging freshman Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston), says he will not run for Congress in 2020. This leaves educator Elisa Cardnell (D) as the Congressman’s only political opponent. The candidate filing deadline, December 9th, is fast approaching. The development means that Mr. Crenshaw will likely sail to re-election next year.
On the Democratic potential retirement list was 83-year old Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas), chair of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Yesterday, the 14-term Representative announced that she will seek re-election to “one last term.” Ms. Johnson is expected to again win easily.
Attorney Jessica Cisneros, a one-time intern to Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) who is now challenging him in the 2020 Democratic primary, released her 3rd Quarter fundraising total. She pulled in just over $310,000 and claims to have $300,000 cash-on-hand. Rep. Cuellar has not yet countered with his own financial report, but he held just over $3 million in his campaign account at the end of June. Obviously, the challenger begins her campaign at a distinct disadvantage.
There has been a great deal of speculation that former Texas Congressman Pete Sessions, who lost his seat in the 2018 election to now-freshman Representative Colin Allred (D-Dallas), would run again.
Yesterday, Mr. Sessions in fact confirmed he is considering launching another campaign for the House, but not in his former 32nd District. He apparently may move into the open 17th District, the seat that retiring Congressman Bill Flores (R-Bryan/Waco) will leave open. TX-17 is safely Republican, while the 32nd is moving closer toward the Democrats. Mr. Sessions previously represented a small portion of the current CD-17, but the vast majority of the electorate would be new to him. This is a developing story.
As has been expected for some time, veteran Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Amarillo), first elected in 1994 and a former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, announced that he will conclude his congressional tenure at the end of this term. He becomes the sixth Texas Republican to announce his retirement.
Mr. Thornberry represents the strongest Trump district in the country (Trump ’16: 80-17%), so there is little doubt that Republicans will hold the seat. Mr. Thornberry issued a simple statement announcing his retirement saying, "We are reminded, however, that for everything there is a season, and I believe that the time has come for a change. Therefore, this is my last term in the U.S. House of Representatives."
With he and Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) both announcing yesterday that they will leave office, the total open seat count for the 2020 election grows to 23, eighteen of which are Republican-held seats.
Mike Collier, the 2018 Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor, is reported to be considering entering the race to oppose freshman Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Houston). While the 2nd District is decidedly Republican (Trump ’16: 52-43; Crenshaw ’18: 53-45%), fielding Mr. Collier would give the Democrats a credible candidate to oppose the freshman Congressman in this transforming Houston suburban seat.
A total of 219 House Democrats and one Independent have signed the petition pledge indicating they will vote for at least some version of an impeachment resolution. Doing so would impeach, or indict, the President, and send the charge to the Senate for a potential trial and motion to remove from office. Among the signers are several members who have competitive re-elections, are in Trump districts, or have primary competition. The lone Independent, Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), will likely face attacks from both sides as he presumably seeks re-election as an Independent or minor party nominee.
The Democrats supporting impeachment who already face credible general election opposition are (listed alphabetically by name) Reps: Cindy Axne (IA), Gil Cisneros (CA), Sharice Davids (KS), Antonio Delgado (NY), Abby Finkenauer (IA), Lizzie Fletcher (TX), Andy Kim (NJ), Susie Lee (NV), Elaine Luria (VA), Tom Malinowski (NJ), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL), Chris Pappas (NH), Katie Porter (CA), Harley Rouda (CA), Elissa Slotkin (MI), Abigail Spanberger (VA), and Lauren Underwood (IL).
Mark Yancey, an investor and former co-owner of the Dallas Wings basketball franchise of the Women’s National Basketball Association, announced his Republican primary challenge to Sen. John Cornyn yesterday. Since Mr. Yancey is challenging Cornyn from the left, the primary battle may actually help the Senator with the Republican base. If Mr. Cornyn has any weakness in running for a fourth term, it would come from the party’s hard right faction. In 2014, Sen. Cornyn was challenged from the right and was re-nominated with 59% of the vote against seven opponents.
Saying he believes the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination race has winnowed to a much smaller number of candidates, Texas Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) has publicly withdrawn his personal endorsement from fellow Texan Julian Castro, the former HUD Secretary and ex-San Antonio Mayor, and will now back former Vice President Joe Biden.
The polls are now definitively projecting a three-way race for the nomination among Mr. Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) despite 15 others still being active candidates. If anything, however, the October debate field looks to be growing. Billionaire Tom Steyer has now qualified and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is closing in on re-admittance.
Two separate polls tested the Democratic Senate primary where the eventual winner will battle Sen. John Cornyn (R), and the results are similar. Neither shows any candidate in position to win the nomination or avoid a secondary run-off election. The University of Texas for the Texas Tribune news publication (8/29-9/8; 550 TX likely Democratic primary voters) find no candidate even reaching mid-double digits.
Retired Army helicopter pilot and former congressional candidate M.J. Hegar leads the group, but with only 11% support. State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) is second with 5%, followed by non-profit executive Cristina Ramirez at 3%, and former US Representative and gubernatorial nominee Chris Bell along with Houston City Councilwoman Amanda Edwards notching only 2% apiece.
Ragnar Research Partners also surveyed the Democratic electorate during a more recent period (9/3-5; 600 TX likely Democratic primary voters) and found a comparable split, but with all of the candidates faring somewhat better: Hegar 12%, West, Ramirez, and Edwards all posting 10%, and Bell trailing with 9% preference.
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