Texas Rep. Pete Olson will not seek a seventh term in 2020, opening up a Republican-held seat that Democrats have made a top target this cycle.
Olson cited family reasons for his decision, saying in a statement that his wife has “carried the lion’s share” of parenting their two children, and that her mother has health issues “that require more care and attention.”
“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,” the congressman said.
Olson was first elected to the 22nd District, which includes the suburbs of Houston, in 2008, when he unseated Democrat Nick Lampson. He coasted to reelection from the strongly Republican seat for the next four election cycles, until Democrat Sri Preston Kulkarni held him to a 5-point win last fall, a sign of the district’s rapidly changing demographics.
The GOP primary to replace Olson is expected to be crowded. One potential candidate is Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls. He recently announced that he would not run for reelection as sheriff and had considered running against Olson in a primary in 2017.
Kulkarni is making a second attempt for the seat this cycle. A former foreign service officer, he outraised Olson in the most recent fundraising quarter that ended June 30, $421,000 to $377,000. And he’s not the only Democrat in the race. Pearland City Councilman Derrick Reed recently launched his campaign. Lawyer Nyanza Davis Moore is also running, but she raised just $30,000 in the second quarter.
Democrats are going on offense in Texas this cycle, targeting a handful of Texas Republicans who won reelection in 2018 by less than 5 points.
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 22nd District race Leans Republican.