WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)— After announcing he was running on Veteran’s Day in 1993 and then defeating Democratic Congressman Bill Sarpalius, Mac Thornberry was sworn into office as 13th District congressman on January 3, 1995, and has been in office since.
However, in a news release issued Monday, Congressman Mac Thornberry said he will not seek re-election.
Former Republican Texas State Senator and friend of Congressman Thornberry Craig Estes said the congressman’s longevity speaks for itself.
“The best way I can describe my friend, Mac Thornberry, is he’s been a real steady hand at the helm. He never gets flustered. He’s always there as a true conservative to do the right thing,” Estes said.
Among Thornberry’s many accomplishments during his time in office, the congressman served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He has served as chair and is now ranking member of the Committee on Armed Services. If he were to stay on as congressman, he would have to step down as ranking member, due to Republican term limits when the current session of Congress ends in 2021.
“Being a chairman of armed services, the first Texan ever as chair of the Armed Services Committee has been a huge plus for North Texas,” Estes said.
Not only has he had major influence in military happenings, Thornberry played a major role in the agriculture sector, most recently helping get the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 passed, helping provide funding to crop insurance, nutrition assistance and more.
“I think it’s a fitting capstone for him to have gotten it passed,” Texas Republican Party Chair James Dickey said. “And then decided that having completed the big effort that he wanted to be sure he got done for his district, that [it] was time for him to move on to the next phase.”
The congressman is now one of six Texas House Republicans not seeking re-election; but Dickey pointed out those six individual decisions are just that: individual.
“The idea of lumping them all together and calling it one single thing,” the so-called ‘Texodus’ “is frankly just laziness by folks outside Texas not willing to put in the effort to take look at each of the individual cases,” Dickey said.
While she can’t fault him for wanting to step aside, Wichita County Republican Party Chair Annette Barfield said it’ll be hard to lose a representative she and many others trust in.
“I think he’s developed that trust over the last 25 years that he’s been or will have been in that position,” Barfield said.
Thornberry will relinquish his congressional post in January 2021.
Congressman Thornberry was unavailable for an interview Monday.
He’ll be appearing at the Women’s Forum Wednesday, October 2 at 1:30 p.m. where he’s expected to elaborate on his decision.