The powerful chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a Dallas Republican, announced his retirement from Congress on Tuesday afternoon. He is currently serving his eighth term in the House.
“Today I am announcing that I will not seek reelection to the US Congress in 2018,” Hensarling wrote in an email to supporters. “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.”
While in a powerful perch with full GOP control of the legislative and executive branches, Hensarling faces a term limit preventing him from continuing his chairmanship at the end of his current term. Hensarling cited that as a reason for retiring, along with spending more time with is family.
Many in Texas saw the retirement coming, thanks to the term-limit issue. In September, Hensarling telegraphed to the Tribune that stepping down could be a possibility.
The seat to replace Hensarling will likely be fought in the GOP primary. It is a heavily Republican district that stretches from Dallas deep into the Piney Woods of East Texas.
In the speculation leading up to Hensarling’s retirement, a prominent name floated up as a potential successor: former U.S. Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican who relocated to Texas after leaving Congress. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appointed West to the Texas Sunset Commission in 2015.
He follows Sam Johnson and Beto O’Rourke in not running for re-election. Hensarling is terrible, but as you can see above, it can always be worse. The race will be settled in the primary, as CD05 went 63-34 for Trump in 2016 and 66-32 for Abbott i 2014. I fully expect some current legislators to at least look at this race, as there have not been that many opportunities to move up in recent years, and that may open up something at a lower level. In the meantime, be glad that this disciple of Phil Gramm is finally leaving, and hope for a marginal improvement going forward. The DMN, who first reported the story, has more.