Mac Thornberry’s announcement that he won’t seek re-election to the 13th Congressional District seat he has held since 1995 presents a potential quandary for me.
I want to emphasize the potential part of that issue, because I do not yet know how this whole story is going to play out.
It involves a possible successor to the veteran Clarendon, Texas, Republican lawmaker.
OK, for starters, I’ll go with what I have heard, which is that a good friend of mine, Greg Sagan, has declared his intention to run as a Democrat once again for the seat that Thornberry will vacate next year. Sagan lost to Thornberry in 2018, which is no surprise, given the 13th District’s strong Republican leaning.
I couldn’t vote in that race, as I no longer live in Amarillo. Were I able to vote, I would have cast my ballot for my friend Greg Sagan. He is smart, articulate, ideologically progressive. He’s also a fellow Vietnam War veteran; so, he’s a kind of a “brother” to me, as Vietnam vets would understand.
He’ll run again in 2020. I hate saying this out loud, but his chances of prevailing in a district drawn to benefit Republicans seems almost as distant as they were when he challenged a veteran incumbent.
Which brings me to a still-hypothetical scenario. That involves a possible/potential Republican who might decide he wants a crack at the congressional seat. This fellow also is a friend of mine.
I refer to state Rep. Four Price, also of Amarillo.
I don’t know this as fact, but I am willing to bet real American money that some movers and shakers within the Panhandle Republican network have already broached the subject to Price, who has become something of a star in the Texas Legislature.
Price’s name was kicked around as a possible speaker after former Speaker Joe Straus left the Legislature prior to the 2019 session. He has earned his spurs as a champion for mental health reform.
So, what kind of congressman would Four Price make? He would be effective. He would learn the ropes quickly. Furthermore, he would be eminently electable, given his solid Republican credentials as a candidate in a solid Republican congressional district.
However, I wouldn’t dare make an endorsement in a contest involving Greg Sagan and Four Price. I would be terribly conflicted.
I am virtually certain Sagan will run. I don’t know what Four Price’s plans include. Nonetheless, Mac Thornberry’s pending departure opens the door wide for an intelligent, thoughtful conservative Republican to run as a successor to a congressional veteran.
Man, I detest quandaries … even if they aren’t yet developed fully.