Sugar Land Rep. Pete Olson Will Not Run for Re-election in District Expected to Be Competitive in 2020

WASHINGTON -- Sugar Land Rep. Pete Olson, a Republican, announced on Thursday that he will not seek re-election, adding further intrigue to a Houston-area congressional seat that was already expected to be competitive in the 2020 election.The six-term lawmaker cited a desire to spend more time with family."As someone who has long advocated for policies that put our families first, it's time for me to take my own advice and be a more consistent presence to help our family," he said in a news release, explaining that his wife's mother has suffered health problems that require more care.Olson is the first member of the Texas delegation to retire this cycle, though his decision continues the massive makeover the Lone Star State roster has seen in recent years as veteran lawmakers in both parties have retired or been voted out of office.The retired Navy pilot's choice also allows him to avoid what was sure to be a tough re-election campaign. He won a closer-than-expected race in November, defeating Democrat Sri Kulkarni in the traditionally Republican district by just five percentage points.Both parties have pledged to fight for the district.Rep. Tom Emmer, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, made that much clear on Thursday, pledging that the seat will "remain a Republican district for the foreseeable future" even as he thanked Olson for "his years of service to Texas and the nation.""Whoever the socialist Democrats nominate will be forced to defend their party's radial agenda of socialized medicine and killing oil and gas jobs with the Green New Deal in a solid Republican district," Emmer said in a news release.The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee countered that "Republicans across Texas are terrified of losing their seats in 2020.""We can't blame Pete Olson for choosing to retire instead of being thrown out of office next year," said DCCC spokesman Avery Jaffe. "Democrats can win this open seat and we look forward to Congressman Olson spending his golden years deep in the heart of Texas."Texas Democratic Party spokesman Abhi Rahman echoed that point, arguing that Olson was "too extreme for Texas.""Texas is the biggest battleground state. Republicans know it," he said in a news release. "We wouldn't be surprised if there were more retirements because Republicans know their 2020 prospects are doomed."  Continue reading...

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