Yesterday Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) became the latest Republican congressman to announce that he will not seek re-election. Hensarling represents the Fifth District in the Dallas area and chairs the Financial Services Committee.
“Today I am announcing that I will not seek reelection to the US Congress in 2018. Although service in Congress remains the greatest privilege of my life, I never intended to make it a lifetime commitment, and I have already stayed far longer than I had originally planned," Hensarling told the Dallas Morning News.
Hensarling is considered a conservative with a strong voting record. He has an annual rating of 96 perecent from the American Conservative Union. His lifetime score is 97 percent.
Prominent Republicans said that Hensarling, who has been in Congress since 2003, will be missed. "Jeb is smart, principled, effective, he's done a terrific job in the House and he will be sorely missed," said Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), saying that the decision was “very disappointing news.”
Speaker Paul Ryan agreed, saying in a statement, "He is a true Constitutional Conservative who understands that free enterprise is critical to a thriving America.”
So far, at least 18 other House Republicans have announced their intention to retire. Democrats need to flip 23 seats to gain control of the lower legislative body. A majority of the retirements are in districts that that still lean Republican.
Rep. Juan Castro (D-Texas) noted, "The number of legislators, but especially Republicans, who have decided to leave the Congress this year is especially high compared to other years, and there have been a few surprises, just like Jeb's announcement today.”
Hensarling denied that his departure was related to the Trump Administration. "Quite the opposite," he said. "I'm rather enjoying it."
Candidates to fill Hensarling’s seat must file to run by Nov. 11, leaving little time to mount a campaign. The most notable potential candidate is Allen West, a retired army colonel and Fox News contributor who served one term as a Florida congressman from 2011 to 2013. In 2014, West moved to Dallas to take over the National Center for Policy Analysis, a nonpartisan think tank.
Originally published on The Resurgent