Rep. Mac Thornberry Becomes Sixth Texas Republican Lawmaker to Announce Retirement

September 30, 2019 Updated: September 30, 2019

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said on Sept. 30 that he plans to retire after his term ends, becoming the sixth Republican lawmaker from Texas to announce their retirement.

Thornberry, who serves as the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, announced that he won’t be seeking re-election for his 13th District of Texas seat in 2020—a district which he has represented for 25 years.

“We are reminded, however, that ‘for everything there is a season,’ and I believe that the time has come for a change.  Therefore, this is my last term in the U.S. House of Representatives,” he said in the statement.

“I could not have asked for a better group of employers than the people of the 13th District.  Their faith, common sense, and work ethic, along with a deep patriotism and devotion to our country, have encouraged and motivated me to do my best on their behalf,” the statement continued.

“With over a year to go, I will continue to represent the people of the 13th District to the best of my ability. Our nation faces many difficult challenges, and none of us can relax our efforts to meet and overcome them, whether at home or around the world,” he added.

Thornberry’s announcement comes amid a recent spate of Republican retirements, jolting the party’s efforts to recapture the House. At least 15 House Republicans have said they will not seek re-election.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump called on House Republicans to let committee chairs stay on in their role beyond the six-year party imposed term limit.

“House Republicans should allow Chairs of Committees to remain for longer than 6 years,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Sept. 9. “It forces great people, and real leaders, to leave after serving. The Dems have unlimited terms. While that has its own problems, it is a better way to go. Fewer people, in the end, will leave!”

The six-year term limit of congressional committee chairmanship was self-imposed by the Republican Party in 1994 in order to bring in fresh members into committee leadership.

Like Thornberry, the ranking member of the House Committee on Agriculture, Mike Conaway (R-Texas), and the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rob Bishop (R-Utah), both announced they would not seek another run in the House back in July.

Thornberry is the 19th House Republican leaving Congress. That includes two members who have resigned and are already gone.

He has been a member of Congress since 1994. His district in the Texas Panhandle has been safely Republican and isn’t considered competitive.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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