On Tuesday night, it was confirmed by a former staffer that Pete Sessions — formerly the Congressman for the 32nd District — will announce a run for a different congressional seat. That seat, the Waco-based 17th District, is currently held by Bill Flores who announced earlier this year he will not seek reelection.
Sessions, who was born in Waco, lost reelection in 2018.
He was defeated by first-time challenger, Colin Allred, by about six points.
Sessions said of his plan to run for Flores’ seat, “Coming to save Texas.”
As reported by the Texas Tribune, Congressman Flores was surprised to hear of this news. He said, “Pete is a friend of mine, but I wish he’d called me first. I could have provided some valuable feedback to him.”
“The conservative leaders and community leaders in the district who are aware of Pete’s intentions have told me they would prefer someone who currently lives, works, and serves in our communities,” he continued.
Flores concluded by saying, “They strongly believe that we have ample talent here to serve as their next congressman or congresswoman.”
The district, which is home to both Baylor University and Texas A&M University, includes Brazos, Burleson, Falls, Freestone, Limestone, McLennan, Milam, and Robertson counties — and parts of Bastrop, Lee, Leon, and Travis counties.
Sen. Ted Cruz won the district in 2018 by almost 10 points over Beto O’Rourke.
Governor Abbott won the district by almost 20 points that year and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick won it with a healthy 10 point spread as well.
Sessions was first elected to Congress in the 5th District in 1996 and served until 2003. Afterward, he was redistricted into the 32nd District where he served until he lost in 2018.
His most significant role in Congress was as House Rules Committee Chairman, a position he held from 2013 through 2018.
About Sessions’ tenure on the Rules Committee, a former Republican leadership staffer, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Texan, “[Sessions] was where you went to get rubber-stamped by leadership.”
“Pete always threw up a roadblock for conservatives,” the former Capitol Hill staffer added.
“This whole ‘save Texas’ stuff is total nonsense. If Pete is there to save Texas, then Texas is in trouble.”
So far, the only Republican who has filed to run for the seat is Trent Sutton — a former Marine Corps Master Sargent. Today, Patrick Svitek with the Texas Tribune reported Wes Lloyd, a Waco attorney and former Republican Party club president, is “moving forward with an exploratory committee.”
Sessions is expected to officially announce his run at the McLennan County Republican Party Headquarters Thursday afternoon.
Sessions’ campaign did not reply to our request for comment before publication.
Update: Following publication, the Sessions campaign sent The Texan a press release from former Rep. Sessions saying: “My goal is to work together to restore the Republican majority in the House and maintain our control of the Senate and White House.”
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.