Representative Michael Conaway (R-TX-11) announced at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon that he plans to retire, leaving his congressional seat open for the 2020 election.
“Representing the folks in District 11 has been an honor and a privilege,” he told reporters. “All things come to an end, and my eighth term in Congress will be my endpoint.”
He said that his family was part of his motivation for retiring, noting, “While serving in Congress, I have asked Suzanne and our family to make innumerable sacrifices. She and they have willingly made those necessary sacrifices, but they were still sacrifices. The time has come for me to put Suzanne, my children, and my grandchildren first.”
Fellow West Texan Representative Jodey Arrington (R-TX-19) issued a press release shortly after Rep. Conaway’s announcement wishing him the best in his future plans.
“Mike Conaway is not your typical politician – he has an unmatched work ethic, impeccable integrity, and is equal parts conservative, compassionate, and common-sense,” said Rep. Arrington.
The district that he has served covers a wide swath of West Texas, including the towns of Odessa, Midland, and San Angelo.
Rep. Conaway began serving as the representative for the district after it was redrawn in 2004.
During his time in office, he has held several leadership positions.
For the past three terms, he has served as the chair or ranking member of the Agriculture Committee. He said that a three-term limit on committee leadership positions is partly why he decided to retire.
The congressman is the fifth Republican from the 116th Congress to announce retirement and the second from Texas. Last week, Representative Pete Olson (R-TX-22) announced his retirement.
Unlike Rep. Olson, the West Texas Republican’s tenure in office has been marked by little opposition at the polls.
In 2018, for example, he defeated a Democratic and Libertarian opponent by a 60-point margin.
His worst election was during his initial run in 2004 where he amassed 76.8 percent of the vote.
It is safe to predict that his successor will also be a Republican.
Asked why he announced his retirement so early, Rep. Conaway said that he wanted to give candidates plenty of time to compete before the Republican primary in March of next year.
At this point, Federal Election Committee (FEC) records show only one candidate in the race for the open seat, Wacey Alpha Cody. However, based on the records, Cody has raised nothing for the campaign.
There are several other potential candidates, though. Some notable names of political leaders in the district who might be considering a bid include State Sen. Brian Birdwell of Granbury, former Mayor Mike Canon of Midland, State Rep. Drew Darby of San Angelo, State Rep. Brooks Landgraf of Odessa, and State Rep. Mike Lang of Granbury.
Rep. Conaway plans to finish his final term before retiring to spend more time with his grandchildren. He will continue with his scheduled town hall meetings in District 11 next week.
In a press release, the congressman offered a final note of gratitude, writing, “I thank each and every person who has given me a helping hand during this journey, including voters, staff, donors, volunteers and friends. I could not have done the job I have done without each of you. My heartfelt thanks to you all.”
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.