“I fully intended to retire after my current term, but with much pressure and encouragement, I have agreed to one more term,” Johnson told constituents in a voicemail this week paid by her campaign, the newspaper reported. Her chief of staff confirmed the decision to CQ Roll Call.
Johnson, the most senior member of the Texas delegation, was first elected to Congress in 1992. She currently chairs the House Science, Space and Technology Committee and is the first woman and first African American to lead the panel.
Johnson won a 14th term to her Dallas-area 30th District last fall, defeating her Libertarian opponent by 82 points. Hillary Clinton carried the seat by 61 points in 2016. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 30th District race Solid Democratic.
Johnson’s decision to retire in three years (assuming she wins reelection next year) won’t endanger Democrats’ hold on her seat, but it is a reminder that the 2022 election could be mired in uncertainty. Congressional maps will be redrawn after the 2020 census, and districts could look very different, particularly in rapidly changing states like Texas.
Before coming to Congress, Johnson served in the Texas House and Senate. She has a degree in nursing and served in the Carter administration’s Health, Education and Welfare Department.
Johnson is not the first to announce her retirement ahead of time. Utah GOP Rep. Rob Bishop made a similar announcement in 2017 before he won a ninth term last fall. North Carolina GOP Sen. Richard M. Burr announced ahead of his successful 2016 reelection that he would not run for another term in 2022.