Sanford intends to retire after 10 years representing House District (HD) 70 in the legislature. “In the midst of changing life seasons and a personal evaluation of priorities, I have made the prayerful decision to not file for re-election,” Sanford said in a statement.
“It has been an honor to serve so many wonderful people for almost a decade, and I fully intend to faithfully complete the remainder of my term with diligence and focus.”
Sanford was facing a primary from accountant and business owner Jim Herblin who announced in August. Herblin said of the news, “As iron sharpens iron, I was looking forward to our upcoming contest. It is my prayer that God blesses your future endeavors.”
HD 70 is solidly red, rated an R-66 percent district by The Texan’s Texas Partisan Index and Sanford won re-election in 2020 almost 25 points. Sanford was rated the 26th most conservative House member during this year’s regular session by Rice University’s rankings calculated by professor and fellow with the university’s Baker Institute, Mark P. Jones.
While not a member of the Texas Freedom Caucus, Sanford was among those who rebelled against then-Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) in the famed “Mother’s Day Massacre.”
Sanford, a pastor, cited his coming second grandchild as one reason for the retirement.
Even before its likely final act of the 87th legislature, the Texas House is already awash with open seats. Sanford’s exit numbers the open seats for the midterm election at seven. While four of the openings are due to members running for other offices, Sanford joins two others who are retiring.
Both, Reps. John Turner (D-Dallas) and Ben Leman (R-Anderson), cited the boilerplate exit message of spending more time with family but Leman also echoed the “changing seasons” theme that Sanford referenced.
It is unclear what Sanford’s exit means for the next legislature as redistricting has not finalized HD 70’s borders yet. But without the allure of protecting an incumbent, his retirement gives House Republicans more room with which to play in redrawing the lower chamber’s districts.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and 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 quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.