The flood of departures from Congress by Republicans has grown worse with the retirement of the party’s representative on the Armed Services Committee. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) was one of last remaining House Republican who won office in Newt Gingrich’s Republican Revolution on the promise of a “Contract for America” — and now he’s calling it quits in what one Texas newspaper referred to as the escalation of the “Texodus.”
Thornberry’s resignation signals a general retreat by the GOP in America’s second-largest state, which has a staggering 35 members in the House. Democrats currently hold 11 of those seats in a state whose Republicans deeply gerrymandered the Congressional map, but the next delegation from the Lone Star State is going look strikingly different. The Dallas Morning News reports:
The Texodus continues. His retirement marks a heavyweight loss for a state delegation in flux. Now of the 25 Texas Republicans who were House members in 2016 when President Donald Trump was sworn into office, only 11 are slated to still be in Congress after next year.
Now of the 25 Texas Republicans who were House members in 2016 when President Donald Trump was sworn into office, only 11 are slated to still be in Congress after next year.
“While we steadily invest in the Lone Star State,” said Lucinda Guinn, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to the News. “Washington Republicans just flew into Texas to declare they’ll win back the majority and jetted away without a plan to stop the Texodus.”
Texas Republicans have a good chance of keeping Thornberry’s seat next year. His district voted R+33 for Trump.
But the long-tenured Congressman’s announced departure virtually nullifies him as a fundraising force for his party and is part of building Democratic momentum in the state, whose senior U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) is sure to face a blistering general election fight next year.
While the highly gerrymandered districts are designed to dilute the votes of both African-Americans and Latinos and pose a major obstacle to any kind of Democratic challenge to the decades-long stranglehold that Republicans have held over Texas politics.
New maps there will be drawn two years from now, and some wise legislators finally believe the matter needs to be taken out of politicians’ hands so they cannot choose their voters.
Rep. Thornberry becomes the third Republican on the House Armed Services Committee to retire and is the twentieth Republican lawmaker of his party to leave Congress. He was quickly followed by Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), who resigned today before admitting his guilt for felony insider trading on the White House lawn.
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition