Plano Democrat Wants to Replace Republican With Same Name

A Plano Democrat is raising eyebrows for an unusual reason.

His name is Sam Johnson — the same name as the Republican he hopes to replace.

U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson has served in Congressional District 3, which covers Collin and Dallas counties, since 1991.

The 86-year-old decorated veteran announced earlier this year he'll retire when his term expires in 2018.

On June 5, a Plano attorney, father and Democrat – with the same name – announced he will seek the vacant seat.

"It is a unique situation," candidate Johnson said.

Since announcing his candidacy online, he says reaction has been mixed.

"Well this is confusing," one person commented on Facebook.

"How did they find the candidate with the same name as the current congressman?" questioned another.

"I was not recruited by anyone except for my conscience," candidate Johnson said.

He says he always wanted to run for office.

"I would be running if my name was any other name," he said.

"I got a good chuckle out of it when I first saw it. I said, 'Wow, what a coincidence,'" said Neal Katz, executive director of the Collin County Republican Party.

Katz says Johnson will have an advantage with name recognition but says the Republican Party and opponents must make a distinction during the upcoming election season.

"His opponents in the primary will just have to make it clear who he is. He is a new person to politics, and he is not the Sam Johnson," Katz said.

"I can't help my name," said candidate Johnson, who added that he hopes the conversation moves past the same-name coincidence.

In a statement, Mike Rawlins, chairman of the Collin County Democratic Party, said:

"The Collin County Democratic Party did not recruit Sam Johnson to run for office. He approached us, and as far as we know his decision to announce for our nomination for the 3rd Congressional District is entirely his own."

So far, four Democrats and one Republican have announced they will run for Congressional District 3.

The window to officially file begins in November.

The primaries are in March, and the election is in November 2018.

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