Rep. Sam Johnson to retire

One of Texas’ longest-serving members of Congress will call it quits next year.

Rep. Sam Johnson

U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson announced Friday morning that he will not seek re-election to represent his Plano-based seat in Congress.

Johnson, a Vietnam War veteran, made the announcement over email Friday.

“After much prayer, I have decided I will not seek re-election to serve the Third District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018,” he wrote. “This will be my final term in the appropriately named ‘People’s House.'”


His 3rd District is strongly Republican, and the GOP primary will most likely determine who will replace him in Congress. Names floated as possible contenders include state Sen. Van Taylor, a Plano Republican, and Collin County Judge Keith Self.

Johnson has been in Congress since 1991, though offhand I can’t think of much that he has done. He did serve in the Korean War as well as the Vietnam War, and was a prisoner of war in Hanoi for seven years, so to say the least he has a compelling personal story. I wish him all the best in his future retirement.

As it happens, the Daily Kos database of Presidential results by Congressional district now includes Texas CDs. Here’s a look at the numbers in CD03:

2012 – Romney 64.3%, Obama 34.2%
2016 – Trump 54.8%, Clinton 40.6%

The data only includes percentages and not vote totals, so it’s hard to say how much of that difference can be accounted for by crossover votes. The data on the Texas Redistricting webpage likely won’t be updated to include 2016 numbers for a few more weeks, so I won’t be able to do any comparisons till then. I did apply the 2016 percentages to the actual result in CD03 to get an estimate:

2012 – Romney 175,383, Obama 93,290
2016 – Trump 173,424, Clinton 128,486 (estimated)
2016 – Johnson 193,684, Bell 109,420

Like I said, I’ll know more once I see the full 2016 data. The 2012 data is here. The Presidential numbers make it look like maybe there could be something competitive under the right circumstances, while the numbers from Johnson’s own race do not. Of course, Dems would have to find a candidate first, and given that they don’t hold any state or county offices in Collin County, that limits their options. Maybe a City Council member from Plano or something like that might be willing to give it a go? I’m just spitballing here. At least we have plenty of time to locate someone. The DMN has more.

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One Response to Rep. Sam Johnson to retire

  1. asmith says:

    I grew up in this district. Back in the mid 90s it was 75-25 GOP up and down the ticket. Sam was kind of an institution here. Didn’t carry much legislation but was a war hero, ultra conservative, and as a homebuilder can take credit for helping start the 40 year housing boom in this area.

    There are more minorities and knowledge community voters now then there were then. Toyota, State Farm, Pepsico/Frito Lay, Dr. Pepper, HP, all have their corporate hq or large campuses in this district. Texas Instruments is in the 32nd but I bet most of its voters live in the 3rd. The political line is probably the Sam Rayburn tollway now as Plano and the Dallas and Richardson parts of Collin become less red due to demographic changes, but they are still red because of the establishment affluent voters. That will change if the Dems can register and turn out all the apartment complexes along the Dallas North Tollway/Bush Turnpike/Central Expressway.

    Frisco/McKinney/Allen and the exurbs in Prosper, Lucas, Parker, and Murphy are blood red, and have plenty of affluent megachurch hard right voters. The corporate relos are more moderate than the last generation of corporate relos but still lean R. If Patrick keeps up the bathroom bill that may change.

    Right now the best bet would be to hope for a moderate R like Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere, or maybe former state Sen Florence Shapiro to run. My bet is a hardliner like state Sen Van Taylor who has always wanted to be a congressman beats Collin County Judge Keith Self in the primary. Hard right state rep Jodie Laubenberg would be like Texas version of former congresswoman Jean Schmidt of Ohio, and if she actually won a primary could make general elections interesting. The right wing still runs the primaries here.

    We had a couple of Dems elected to city councils/school boards in Collin in the past decade. David Smith of Plano, and Gilda Garza of McKinney come to mind, but not many lately. Sandy Greyson from the Dallas city council probably lives in the 32nd, but a good chunk of her constituents are in the 3rd. With that said she would be a dream candidate against Pete Sessions. The rep districts that were plano based all went about 57-61% R, which is as close as they have ever been in 35 years.

    8-10 years from now I wouldn’t be surprised if a D came close or even won a central or east plano based state rep district, especially if it had the apartment clusters along 75 or the Dallas tollway.

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