AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Former Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas is expected to run again in 2020 but not in his old Dallas district, which Democrats flipped last year.
Prominent Republican megadonor Roy Bailey and two GOP operatives with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press that Sessions will run for the rural central Texas seat of outgoing Rep. Bill Flores.
Bailey, who is finance co-chairman of President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, said he has discussed the decision extensively with Sessions. The two GOP operatives requested anonymity to discuss Sessions’ candidacy.
“He has been motivated by the Democrats move towards impeachment of our duly elected President,” Bailey said in a text message to the AP.
Sessions, who spent 22 years in Congress, was a longtime GOP party leader and once the campaign chief for House Republicans. He was ousted by Democrat Colin Allred — a loss that was further proof of Texas’ big cities growing more liberal.
Flores’ district runs through Waco, where Sessions was born, and is considered a safe Republican enclave. An announcement was scheduled for Thursday in Waco.
Flores is one of 20 House Republicans leaving Congress next year. Seventeen are retiring after their current term and three have resigned or already left office.
Sessions didn’t face a Democratic challenger in 2016, but his district voted for Hillary Clinton over Trump.
Two years later, Democrats won Sessions’ seat and another near Houston that is now represented by Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, and they’re targeting six more they narrowly lost in 2018. All run through suburbs where shifting demographics and an aversion to Trump among educated women are weakening the GOP.
Fram reported from Washington.