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Neugebauer Looking for 'New Challenge' After Congress

Neugebauer said it was the "right time for my family and me to have more time together." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 9:00 p.m. | Texas Republican Rep. Randy Neugebauer said Thursday he will not seek re-election in 2016 – opening the state's 19th District for another Republican's taking.  

During an interview with CQ Roll Call, Neugebauer said he made his decision public now in order to give potential replacements time to file for the seat before Texas' December 14 deadline to get in the primary. “There’s going to be a lot of different people," he said. “This is a seat that traditionally doesn’t come up very often.”  

“This was a difficult decision, but I feel this is a good time to end this season of my life and move to another,” he said in a statement, adding that he will remain in his set "until the final gavel ends this Congress in January 2017 and another individual takes that special oath soon after.”  

Neugebauer, 65, has held the seat — rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call — since he won a highly contested primary that preceded a special election in 2003.  

Glen Robertson, the mayor of Lubbock, said in February  that he was considering running against Neugebauer for the seat, but never took any public steps toward a run. Calls and messages to Robertson on Thursday were not immediately returned.  One national operative said Thursday that Robertson, as well as Tom Sell — a business partner of the district's former representative, Republican Larry Combest — and former George W. Bush aide Jodey Arrington might be considering their own candidacies for the open seat.  

A Texas Republican operative also mentioned state Reps. Dustin Burrows and Susan King as potential candidates. While King has the ability to self fund, the operative suggested that she may be at a geographic disadvantage and that "the eventual winner is not in the mix yet."  

Neugebauer, one of the most conservative lawmakers in the House, made news in 2010 when he yelled out “baby killer” during remarks given by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., during a heated floor debate over health care in 2010.  

In his statement, Neugebauer said his decision to retire at the end of his term was about spending more time at home with his family in northwestern Texas, not his health. In August,  Neugebauer said he received his final radiation treatment for prostate cancer.  

“There will be a lot of speculation on why I came to this decision. Some will say it’s health reasons; I feel great and I am cancer-free," he said.  

In an interview, he added, "I’m looking forward to some new challenges, and maybe spending more time with my grandchildren. My passion is fly fishing and I plan to schedule more fishing trips.”  

Matt Fuller and Simone Pathe contributed to this report.  Correction 7:14 p.m.  A previous version of this article misstated the first name of former George W. Bush aide Jodey Arrington.  

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