Republican Jeb Hensarling Not Running for Re-Election

Texas congressman says he has stayed far longer than originally planned

Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling will not seek a ninth term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling will not seek a ninth term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted October 31, 2017 at 2:18pm

Texas Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling said Tuesday he will not run for re-election next year.

“Today I am announcing that I will not seek reelection to the US Congress in 2018. Although service in Congress remains the greatest privilege of my life, I never intended to make it a lifetime commitment, and I have already stayed far longer than I had originally planned,” the eight-term congressman said in a statement.

Hensarling, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, was first elected to Texas’ 5th District in 2002. He noted in his statement, first reported by The Dallas Morning News, that he is term-limited out of his chairmanship after this Congress and “the time seems right for my departure.”

Family considerations also played a role in the congressman’s decision.

“Throughout this time, my family has graciously sacrificed for my service. As the parents of two teenagers, Melissa and I know there are only a few years left before they leave and make their own way in life. I want to be there for those years,” he said.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan saluted Hensarling as a free-enterprise champion and a “true constitutional conservative.”

“I want to thank him in particular for his work on a hallmark jobs bill, the Financial CHOICE Act, which passed the House this summer, and for his instrumental role in our Better Way agenda,” Ryan said in a statement.

Hensarling said he expects to spend the next 14 months of his term fighting “for individual liberty, free enterprise, and limited constitutional government — the causes for which I remain passionate.”

“Much work remains at the House Financial Services Committee in the areas of housing finance reform, regulatory relief, cyber security and capital formation to name just a few. Furthermore, important work remains in the Congress as a whole — especially pro-growth tax reform,” he said.

Hensarling is a former member of House GOP leadership, serving a term as chairman of the House Republican Conference. He gave up the position to take the gavel of the Financial Services Committee. He also chaired the conservative Republican Study Committee from 2007 to 2009.

Prior to being elected to Congress, he was an aide to former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm and was the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 1992 campaign cycle. 

President Donald Trump carried the 5th District by 28 points last fall, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections. Hensarling won re-election with 81 percent of the vote last year, facing only a Libertarian and no Democratic opponent.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the 5th District race Solid Republican.

Hensarling is the third Texas congressman to announce his departure after this Congress. Fellow Republican Sam Johnson, in the 3rd District, is retiring, while Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke is giving up his 16th District seat to run for Senate.

Correction Nov. 1, 12:45 p.m. | An earlier version of this story misstated the office Rep. Beto O’Rourke is running for next year.