Rep. Jeb Hensarling’s (R-Dallas) surprise retirement announcement has sent the north Texas political establishment scrambling. No Republican has yet declared his or her candidacy, but one key potential contender has said no. Wealthy state Senate candidate Phillip Huffines (R) said he will not alter his political plans in order to switch to the open congressional race. Mr. Huffines says he has no intention of deviating from his current plan of seeking election to the state Senate. His brother, Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas), already represents most of Dallas County in the legislative body.
On the other hand, east Texas state Senator Bryan Hughes (R-Wood County) reportedly is moving closer to entering the congressional race. Sen. Hughes was initially elected to a four-year term in 2016 after spending seven terms in the state House, so he would not have to risk his current position to run. Though almost all of his expansive Senate district – Texas state Senate seats are actually larger than congressional districts - is in Reps. Louie Gohmert’s (R-Tyler) and John Ratcliffe’s (R-Heath/ Rockwall) districts, Sen. Hughes would still be a formidable candidate because of his strong support among conservative groups. CD-5’s Dallas County section is the population anchor, so a well-known candidate coming from this region would likely cause Sen. Hughes problems. So far, none have yet stepped forward, however.
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