Representative Kenny Marchant of Texas announced that he will not seek reelection to the House today, citing his excitement to start a new chapter but not explaining his reason for leaving, the Washington Post reports.
Marchant brings the number of GOP House members from the 116th Congress not returning to 12, per the House Press Gallery Casualty List. His will be the fourth Texas seat left open – Michael Conway is leaving a heavily conservative district but Will Hurd, Pete Olson, and Marchant leave open seats in competitive districts, giving Democratic prospects to gain seats a boost.
Democrats already had well-funded challengers lined up to capture the Dallas-Fort Worth district from the reliably conservative vote and member of the Ways and Means Committee, according to the New York Times.
Marchant, like Hurd and Olson, represented districts that are increasingly diverse and difficult for conservatives to win. Marchant won his district by only three points, against an opponent with less financial backing than the current Democratic candidates. Mitt Romney won in Marchant’s district by 22 point but Donald Trump took it by only six points in the 2016 presidential race.
While Democrats speculate about a “Texodus” and hope to make gains on their 37 seat majority in 2020, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy cautioned that the GOP has a clear plan to win back the majority. They are banking on President Trump bringing more Republican voters out to vote in comparison to the numbers Democrats scored in 2018 and he cautions that the 12 GOP retirements versus the two Democratic retirements do not change the plan.
According to the Washington Post, McCarthy says many of those retiring are doing so because of party rules that mean they are set to lose their committee positions. However, nine of the retiring Republican representatives do not lead committees.
In an election cycle where Republicans are tied to President Trump and his controversial politics, other Texas Representatives, Chip Roy, Michael McCaul, and John Carter, are in for significant challenges. Martha Roby, from Alabama, and Rob Bishop, from Utah, both retiring from seats in solidly red districts, appear to indicate the likelihood that GOP incumbents across the country will be in for hard-fought races even in previously safe districts.