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Republican Rep. Bill Flores to retire, continuing exodus from Texas ranks

Flores is fifth House Republican from the Lone Star State to announce his retirement in recent weeks

Rep. Bill Flores is the fifth Texas Republican to announce his retirement in recent weeks. . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Bill Flores has joined the ranks of Texas Republicans announcing they won’t run for reelection in 2020.

The five-term congressman said he initially pledged to serve no more than six terms when he launched his first campaign for Texas’ 17th District.

“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,” Flores said in a statement. “Following the end of my current term in January 2021, I look forward to spending much more time with my family and our grandchildren. I also intend to resume business activities in the private sector and to stay politically active on a federal, state and local level.”

Flores is the fifth Texas Republican in the House this year to announce retirement rather than run again in 2020. He currently serves on the Energy and Commerce and Budget committees, and is a former chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee.

While in Congress, Flores was an ardent supporter of the GOP effort to repeal the 2010 health care law as well as moves to expand energy production. He supported his party’s priorities 98 percent of the time while in Congress, according to CQ Vote Studies. He has supported President Donald Trump’s priorities 96 percent of the time. 

The 17th District Flores represents includes northern Austin, Waco and College Station. Trump carried the district by 17 points in 2016, and Flores won reelection last year by 16 points, although it was the first time that he garnered less than 60 percent of the vote. GOP Sen. Ted Cruz won the district by 9 points last fall over Democrat, while only narrowly carrying the state over Democrat Beto O’Rourke.  

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 17th District race Solid Republican

While Flores’ district would likely be a reach for Democrats looking to flip GOP seats in 2020, Democrats do see an opportunity to make gains in Texas due to the state’s shifting demographics. 

Three Texas Republicans in competitive seats — Will Hurd, Pete Olson and Kenny Marchant — announced their retirements earlier this year. Rep. K. Michael Conaway is also retiring, although he represents a safe Republican seat.

Before he was elected to Congress in 2010 by unseating Democrat Chet Edwards, Flores worked in the energy industry. An accountant, he most recently served as president and CEO of the energy company Phoenix Exploration. 

Peter Cohn and Stephanie Akin contributed to this report.

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