He is the sixth congressional Republican from Texas to announce he is forgoing another run for the House of Representatives. Just days ago, Rep. Mac Thornberry released a statement, quoting either Ecclesiastes or the ‘60s rock band The Byrds. He said: “We are reminded … 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 his Texas congressional brothers-in-political arms, Reps. Pete Olson, Mike Conaway, Will Hurd, Kenny Marchant, and Bill Flores, in a curious retreat.
While there is a snowball’s chance in a heated state for a Democrat to wriggle into a vacant seat, it’s even less likely Thornberry’s 13th District in the northernmost part of the state, sitting just below the panhandle of Oklahoma in a wildly rural expanse, is a potential. The area is dominantly red, and if Dems hold their breath till they turn blue, Thornberry’s turf will not. The district went to Trump in 2016 with a healthy 80% of voters and is not likely to budge in the next go-round.
But those hopeful Dems believe they are in position for a blue state makeover. As Lucinda Guinn, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told local news, “While we steadily invest in the Lone Star State, Washington Republicans just flew into Texas to declare they’ll win back the majority and jetted away without a plan to stop the Texodus.”
Maybe it was simply a grandstanding taunt, but Guinn’s observation is akin to the Hillary Clinton campaign’s rebuff of traditional Midwestern blue states – which helped propel Trump to the White House. Ignoring Texas – in the slightest – is not the way to win 2020.
Why? He’s a Shoe-In
Thornberry was elected to the House in 1994 and has served 13 terms, standing up for this nation and signing the famous Contract with America, a promise to the American people to pass legislation in the first 100 days of the 104th Congress. Within the pledge were tax-cut proposals for the middle class, an aggressive agenda to reduce crime, and constitutional amendments requiring a balanced budget and term limits. All were passed by the House – except that pesky term limit worm that continues to rear its seemingly immortal head.
In the era of former presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama, the gentleman from the Lone Star State quietly did the work of those he represented. And he served President Trump well, voting in agreement nearly 98% of the time.
Can Trump afford to lose another ally? At least the line of succession in leadership seems stable: Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) appears poised to inherit the most senior Republican position on the Armed Services Committee; the position of chairman had been Thornberry’s for two terms prior to Democrats winning the House in 2018. Wilson also is a stalwart Trump supporter.
Turn, Turn, Turn
Ecclesiastes also insists there is “a time to plant and a time to uproot.” Perhaps Thornberry is ready to do just that. He had pledged support for term limits in 1994, and perchance the Exodus from Texas will allow for new and energetic thoughts and ideas to flourish.
Republicans must surely focus on keeping Texas a healthy shade of red and secure the almighty 38 electoral votes the great state wields. The flipside of 2016 is simply unacceptable.