Dallas Democrats Prep for Congressional Run in the Event Eddie Bernice Johnson Retires

She's 81 years old, in her 13th term in Congress and just had a downtown landmark named for her.After 45 years in public service, Dallas Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson is once again signaling that it's time for her do something else. And though she's suggested as much before, this time, several Democrats eager to replace her are preparing for what could be a rare wide-open primary for a North Texas congressional seat.Would-be successors are approaching groups such a organized labor and EMILY's List, a key fundraising group for Democratic Women, to gauge support, if Johnson indeed leaves when her term ends in 2018."It feels different this time. There's a different feeling out there, a feeling that she may actually be retiring" said Nancy Hall, the executive vice president of the Communication Workers of America union in Dallas.Hall said that there are a couple of potential candidates mildly campaigning for Johnson's job, and almost everyone with a chance or desire to replace the longtime incumbent bracing for the possibility mounting a bid."The ball is rolling," Hall said. "There are people out there who are gearing up and the field will be large."They're doing so carefully, in part because Johnson has done this before and then decided to run again — and in part out of respect and fear they could antagonize one of the most powerful Democratic politicians in Texas.But former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, one of Johnson's closest allies, acknowledged the atmosphere is different than in years past."She's indicated to various groups that this may be her last term, but it's a decision that she will make," he said.Johnson has often talked about retiring, telling her constituents and the media that she's taking things one term at a time."I want to wind it down and move on to what's out there for me," Johnson told KXAS-TV (NBC5) late last year, after winning re-election.But several times, she has quashed the notion and gone on to easily win another two-year term in the 30th Congressional District, which covers much of southern Dallas County.  Continue reading...

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