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Congressman Bill Flores Becomes Fifth Texas Republican To Announce Retirement

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Republican Rep. Bill Flores of Texas announced Wednesday that he will be a man of his word and abide by the term-limit pledge he made when he was first elected in 2010.

The decision by Flores, 65, to retire, makes him the fifth Texas Republican congressmen who will not seek re-election in 2020, The Hill reported.

“When I originally announced that I was running for Congress in 2009, I was firm in my commitment that I would run for six or fewer terms,” Flores said in a statement announcing his retirement.

“After much prayer over the past few days and following conversations with my wife, Gina, during that time, I have decided that my current term will be my last.”

In his statement, Fores said he still had work to do.

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“Even though my current term will be my final in Congress, I will continue working with a sense of urgency and diligence over the next 16 months to continue fulfilling my original campaign promises to the good folks in TX-17 to restore Liberty, Opportunity, and Security for hardworking Texas families who were left behind due to the disastrous policies of the Obama administration.

“During the upcoming weeks and months, I will be working with the Trump administration and my Congressional colleagues to rebuild our Military; to secure our border; to grow our economy through tax reform and regulatory reform; to restore fiscal soundness to the federal budget; to remove the uncertainty related to the ‘Dreamers’ in our country; to rebuild our critical infrastructure; to help enact the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA) and other international trade reforms; to facilitate the accelerated deployment of 5G technologies; to enact common-sense reforms for prescription drug costs and health care; and to maintain America’s energy dominance,” he said.

Flores runs in a majority-Republican district and never polled below 57 percent in his elections.

Republican Reps. Will Hurd, Pete Olson and Kenny Marchant have also announced their retirements, Politico reported. In its reporting, Politico said they all faced a challenge in winning re-election. Republican Rep. Mike Conway, whose district is solidly Republican, is also stepping down.

Is this a problem for the Texas GOP?

Hurd noted that the Texas GOP needs to move away from some traditional positions in light of the state’s changing demographics.

“If the Republican Party in Texas doesn’t start looking like Texas, there won’t be a Republican Party in Texas,” he said, referring to the growth of the Hispanic population, which could be the majority in Texas by 2022.

The 2018 elections were “without a doubt a wake-up call to most elected officials,” Hurd said. “Texas is indeed purple.”

Even those not planning to retire say Texas has become a battleground.

Republicans need to be very concerned about Texas,” said Republican Rep. Brian Babin. “Texas is definitely in play. We need to take this very, very seriously.”

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“We have our work cut out for us,” Babin said. “It could be a toss-up in some of these districts. I’m disappointed and sad to see some of my colleagues retiring. It certainly makes it tougher to hang on.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has beefed up its presence in the state and is targeting several districts it hopes to gain in 2020.

Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas is not pushing the panic button, however.

“Texans aren’t buying what they’re selling,” said Roy, who is a member of the House Freedom Caucus. He also noted, “we’re taking nothing for granted.”

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