Two more powerful Texas Republican lawmakers announced their retirements last week, reports The Texas Tribune.
U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, the influential chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, announced he will not run for re-election, sparking a flurry of conjecture over who will run for Lamar’s central Texas seat. Lamar has been in Congress for over 30 years.
Meanwhile, Congressman Jeb Hensarling of Dallas announced that he’s quitting after eight terms in the House of Representatives. The departures are seen by many observers as evidence of a widening rift in the GOP ranks.
The announcements come mere days after the Lone Star State’s political realm was turned upside down by Texas House Speaker Joe Straus’s announcement that he would not seek re-election. The centrist Republican Straus has been a robust opponent of the far-right legislative efforts of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott.