Battleground 2020Elections 2020IssuesBattleground Update: Field of Congressional Candidates for Safe Republican Open Seats Solidifies

Following a slew of Texas GOP retirements from Congress, several open seats in solid Republican districts have taken shape.
November 4, 2019

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Out of the six Texas members of Congress who have announced their retirements, three are leaving districts that have been rated by the Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) as safely Republican.

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX-11) announced his retirement in July, saying that he was announcing early to give plenty of time for primary candidates to campaign.

His district covers much of West Texas, including Midland, Odessa, San Angelo, and Granbury. It is rated with a PVI of Republican +32, one of the most conservative districts in the state and nation.

In September, Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX-17) announced that he would not be seeking reelection.

His district includes Waco and Bryan-College Station, with a small part stretching into the Austin metro area. It has a PVI of R+12.

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A month after Flores’ announcement, Pete Sessions, a former member of Congress from Texas’ 32nd Congressional District who lost his reelection bid last year, said that he intended to run for the seat.

His announcement was met with resentment from some people in the district, including Flores, who wanted someone from within the district to run.

Shortly after, Sessions was also named in connection with campaign finance charges brought against two Russian associates of Rudy Giuliani. 

Since then, several other candidates have filed to run for the seat, but Sessions has not been one of them.

In late September, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX-13) announced his retirement.

His stretches across the panhandle of Texas and along the Texas-Oklahoma border to include Wichita Falls. According to the Cook PVI, it is the most conservative district in the nation at R+33.

While there is still plenty of time for more candidates to join the races, the fields of Republican contenders in each district are beginning to solidify before the primary election on March 3, 2020.

If no candidate in the primary receives over fifty percent of the vote, the two top candidates will face each other in a runoff election on May 26, 2020.

See below for the Republican candidates in each of the three races. Notable fundraising information is mentioned, but for more detailed numbers published at the end of the last filing period, please see this article. Note that some candidates with little or no funds listed may have entered the race shortly before or after the filing deadline on September 30.

11th Congressional District

  • Brandon Batch is a former staff member for Rep. Michael McCaul.
  • Jamie Berryhill is a businessman and the founder of Mission Messiah Women & Children’s Program.
  • Cynthia Breyman is a retired teacher. 
  • Wacey Alpha Cody is a rodeo competitor.
  • J.D. Faircloth is the former mayor of Midland.
  • J.Ross Lacy is a businessman and Midland city councilman. He has received the endorsement of Ernie Angelo and has raised $145,000.
  • Ned Luscombe is a small business owner and nurse.
  • August Pfluger is an Air Force veteran and raised $700,000 within his first 19 days as a candidate.
  • Ross Schumann served in the National Guard and works in the oil industry.
  • Robert Tucker is currently retired, but is a veteran former pastor.
  • Wesley Virdell is an Air Force veteran and small business owner.

13th Congressional District

17th Congressional District

  • George Hindman is a rocket scientist and entrepreneur.
  • Trent Sutton is a Marine veteran.
  • Oil and gas attorney Wes Lloyd has also told reporters that he is considering a run as a Republican.


Update: Jamie Berryhill was added to the list of TX-11 candidates. His candidacy was originally overlooked since his campaign filing was not received by the FEC until late on November 3.


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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is the Marketing and Media Manager for The Texan. After graduating with a double-major in Political Science and Humanities, he wrote for The Texan as a reporter through June 2022. In his spare time, you're likely to find him working on The Testimony of Calvin Lewis, an Abolition of Man-inspired novel and theatrical podcast.