Exiting Lawmakers Provide Opportunity for Fort Bend County GOP

Another Fort Bend County Republican will not seek re-election in 2020 -- raising questions about the party's hold on Houston's growing suburbs.

Mark Jones, fellow in political science at Rice University's Baker Institute, says redistricting may shake things up in the future, but state Rep. John Zerwas was unlikely to lose re-election.

The same goes for state Rep. Rick Miller who recently found himself on Gov. Greg Abbot's shortlist to become Commissioner of the Texas Department of Family Protective Services.

Dr. Zerwas was named vice chancellor of health affairs the University of Texas System, effective October 1.

“These are positions that don't pay anything, so if you get a good job either with the state or University of Texas, that might be in your best interest to take it,” says Jones.

Congressman Pete Olson also is stepping aside, but Jones says he's really doing the party a favor at this point.

“By indicating he would not be running for re-election so early, it gives the party time to recruit somebody and have that candidate actually run and be credible, keeping that seat in Republican hands.”

That's where Sheriff Troy Nehls could step in. He recently announced he would not seek re-election for sheriff to again explore a run for Olson's congressional seat.

On the state level, Jones says Republicans should use this time to recruit new candidates.

“Right now, you have three Anglo males over the age of 60 representing a population that's young and diverse,” says Jones. “You should ideally, if you're the Republican Party, look for candidates and try to recruit candidates who better reflect the diversity of Fort Bend County.”



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