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Government/Politics

Here are some Texas lawmakers not seeking reelection

Haya Panjwani
/
KERA
The Texas House of Representatives and the state Senate both reside in the Capitol building.

Now that the third special session of the Texas Legislature ended with redrawn district lines, attention will turn to the elections for the state’s House and Senate seats.

There are at least three senators and 13 representatives of the who are choosing not to run for another term in their districts.

While some of the lawmakers say it's a chance to focus on their work or spend more time with family, others cite “extreme gerrymandering” from the redistricting process as a reason not to run for re-election.

District 12: Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound

In early July, Nelson announced she does not plan to seek reelection after serving for nearly three decades, longer than other Senate Republicans. Nelson was the first woman chair of the Senate Budget Committee.

“It has been a great honor to represent our community in the Texas Senate. I promised to listen, work hard, and deliver results and have strived to fulfill that pledge. Our accomplishments have improved the lives of Texans, which makes me proud.”

District 24: Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway

Buckingham announced in June that she will not seek reelection, but instead, will run for Texas Land Commissioner.

She said in a statement, she will run with “a strong conservative record defending the right to life, our Second Amendment, our invaluable oil and gas industry, and the low tax economy that has made Texas great.”

District 31: Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo

The senator announced Oct. 20th at he will not seek reelection in 2022 in order to focus on his family.

“I will continue to serve the great constituents of Senate District 31 for the remainder of my term. I am forever grateful for my family, supporters, staff, and those who have worked on my behalf since 2004. Thank you for placing your trust in me as your Texas State Senator.”

District 9:  Chris Paddie, R- Marshall

Paddie has represented his district for eight years. He announced in September that he does not intend to run again even though he had earlier indicated he would seek reelection.

The Republican will become a lobbyist. He oversaw a number of proposals to overhaul the state’s power grid following the historic winter storm outages in February.

He said he will miss serving his constituents, adding, “I also recognize that the greatness of the House existed long before I joined it and it will exist long after I am gone. I look forward to supporting Speaker Phelan and my House colleagues as they continue their service to our great state.”

District 13:  Ben Leman, R-Anderson

The Republican announced he would retire after a decade of service.

In a statement released on Facebook in early September, he revealed that he would not run for reelection in order to work outside the Capitol and his constituents.

“As we have all learned, life comes at us in seasons. It is clear the current season of my public service is winding down for the near future.”

District 19: James White, R- Hillister

White said he will not seek reelection but instead run for Texas Agriculture Commissioner. He said that Texas “needs competent, statewide leaders.”

“The combination of my proven conservative record, experience on agriculture issues, and commitment to integrity and ethics makes me the right candidate to steer this crucial agency back in the right direction,” White said.

District 38:  Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville

After being in office since 2006, the Democrat says he wants to pivot his focus on “friends, family and business.”

In his statement on Twitter, Lucio said he hopes to stay active in his community through his local chamber of commerce and education institutions.

District 50:  Celia Israel, D- Austin

Israel announced that she is “ready for a new challenge.” She has considered running for mayor of Austin.

"From the pandemic to the legislative attacks on women, communities of color, and trans kids, I know I’m not the only one who has reflected on how we can best use our talents to meet the demands of these challenging times," she said. "And in an increasingly urbanized Texas, local government may seem messy and unglamorous, but it’s where neighbors are actively coming together to solve problems."

District 61:  Phil King, R-Weatherford

The GOP representative won’t be seeking reelection, but instead will be running for a senate seat currently held by Beverly Powell , D-Burleson .

"Since a new Texas Senate map has been proposed that places Parker County in Senate District 10, I have received many encouraging calls from conservatives urging me to enter the race so we can defeat a liberal Democrat," King said in a statement. "After prayerful consideration with my wife Terry and my family, should this map be adopted, I will make a formal announcement that I will be running for this seat."

District 63: Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound

Parker will also not seek reelection in order to run for Senate District 10 and replace the outgoing senator, Jane Nelson.

The Republican businessman made the announcement in a video on Twitter, and said he will work on “creating ways to make sure government works for the citizens and upholding the values that have made Texas the beacon of opportunity, freedom and independence.”

District 70: Scott Sanford, R-McKinney

The representative announced just before the start of the third special session that he would not run for reelection so he could focus on his family and grandchildren.

"As the legislature embarks on its third special session, I’m reminded of the seasonality of government. It ebbs and flows as it follows its constitutional guidelines, the needs of the citizens and the reality of political processes," he said in a news release.

District 73: Kyle Biedermann, R-Fredericksburg

The three-term representative said he will not be running for his seat, stating in a Facebook post, that he wants to run for a position closer to his home in Gillespie County.

“Barbi (his wife) and I will always love and cherish the experiences we have had along the way. Thank you to the people I have represented for the chance to serve and the opportunity to make Texas stronger than we found it,” Biedermann said.

District 93: Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth

Instead of running for reelection, Krause told Texas Tribune that will run against Attorney General Ken Paxton for his seat.

Krause called himself a “faithful conservative fighter,” who can “focus on the job.”

District 114:  John Turner, D-Dallas

The Democratic representative has represented his district since 2018 when he flipped the previously Republican-held seat. Now Turner said he will not seek reelection to give time to his family.

"The next few years are an important time to be involved with my family," he said, "and that is much harder when one is away as often as legislative service requires."

District 122:  Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio

The San Antonio Republican will not run for reelection choosing to follow his own legislation that limits the number of political terms to 12 years. In an email to his constituents, Larson wrote that “as a strong proponent of term limits, I will follow the limits we previously proposed…” Larson is the only Republican to vote against legislation prohibited the teaching of “critical race theory” in classrooms.

District 133:  Jim Murphy, R-Houston

Chair of the GOP Caucus in the House, Murphy will not seek reelection after 12 years in office.

The representative said he is, "just looking forward to life's next great opportunity" and that it had been "an honor and privilege" to serve the constituents of HD-133,” after initially announcing he’ll be running again in June.

Got a tip? Email Haya Panjwani at hpanjwani@kera.org. Follow Haya on Twitter @hayapanjw.

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