Rep. Bill Flores became the fifth Texas Republican this term to announce he will not seek reelection as a growing number of longtime GOP incumbents heading for the exits in 2020. While his solidly Republican district is not as likely to flip as several other districts are, the decision could indicate a lack of optimism about his party’s chances of regaining a majority in the next Congress.
Flores was first elected in the 2010 Republican landslide as part of the new majority. He advocated for elimination of environmental regulations, opposed aid for Superstorm Sandy victims (while supporting emergency funding for his own constituents), and called the Affordable Care Act a “violation of our constitutional liberties.” He served a term as chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of House conservatives who work to pull their party to the right.
Up until this year, his entire House career had been spent in the majority. With less power, it is not unusual for minority party members to retire — especially when they do not expect to be in the majority after the next election.
“After much prayer over the past few days and following conversations with my wife, Gina, during that time, I have decided that my current term will be my last,” Flores said in a statement Wednesday. “Even though my current term will be my final in Congress, I will continue working with a sense of urgency and diligence over the next 16 months to continue fulfilling my original campaign promises to the good folks in TX-17 to restore Liberty, Opportunity, and Security for hardworking Texas families who were left behind due to the disastrous policies of the Obama administration.”
Flores joins GOP Texas Reps. Mike Conaway, Will Hurd, Pete Olson, and Kenny Marchant, who already announced they will not seek reelection next year. Republicans currently hold 23 of the 36 Texas seats in the U.S. House.