A top priority for the Republican Party in 2020, aside from seeing President Donald Trump elected to a second term, is to regain majority control of the House of Representatives and maintain control over Republican-majority red states.
That is looking to be a difficult prospect to achieve in light of the recent announcements from a number of Republicans in the House that they will not be running for re-election in 2020, including Rep. Kenny Marchant and three other Republican congressmen from Texas.
The latest Republican member of Congress to announce that he would not be running for re-election, and the fourth lawmaker from Texas to delcare as much, is Rep. Kenny Marchant, who represents a northern suburban portion of the sprawling Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis.
“It is time for me to announce that I will not seek another term as Congressman from the 24th District of Texas,” Marchant said in a statement on Monday.
“I am looking forward to finishing out my term and then returning to Texas to start a new chapter,” he added, though it is unclear exactly what that new chapter will entail.
Marchant was first elected to Congress in 2004 and has been re-elected every two years since then.
However, while Marchant initially enjoyed large margins of victory over his Democratic opponents — including by as much as 33% in 2014 — those spreads have diminished greatly in recent years, with Marchant claiming victory by only 3% in the 2018 election, according to a series of tweets from New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin.
One reason put forward by Martin for the slimmer margins of victory, as well as Marchant’s decision to not run for re-election, is that the demographics and partisan affiliations of his district have changed and become more diverse over time since the congressman first took office.
Texas retirements mount
As noted, Marchant is now the fourth Republican member of Congress from Texas who has announced an intention not to seek re-election in 2020, joining Reps. Pete Olsen of the 22nd District in southern Houston, Will Hurd of the 23rd District between San Antonio and El Paso, and Mike Conaway of the 11th District in rural west Texas.
Some in the media have suggested the Republican retirements from Congress are due to internal opposition to President Trump’s agenda and character, while others claim the departures are because of changing demographics and political affiliations of voters.
It is also very possible that this trend is simply the natural result of advancing age or the abundance of private sector opportunities for these soon-to-be former lawmakers.
Regardless of the reasons, the decisions to not run for re-election will make it a little bit harder, in some cases, for Republicans to maintain control of those seats and will certainly make it more difficult for Republicans to regain control of the House in 2020.