Lamar Smith Won’t Seek Re-Election, Retiring From Congress

House GOP term limits would force Smith to relinquish a powerful committee chairmanship if he continued in Congress.

By Ryan PoppeNovember 3, 2017 9:30 am, , ,

From Texas Public Radio:

Congressman Lamar Smith, whose district runs through parts of Austin and San Antonio will not seek re-election in 2018.

Smith’s office confirms the Republican congressman will not be on the ballot during the 2018 election.

Smith is the chair of the U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

“For several reasons, this seems like a good time to pass on the privilege of representing the 21st District to someone else,” he said in an email. “… With over a year remaining in my term, there is still much to do. There is legislation to enact, dozens of hearings to hold and hundreds of votes to cast.”

Mark Jones with Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy says Smith, due to Republican House term limits, would have lost that position within the House in 2018.

“And while that’s good for rotation, it does mean members that have served terms on a committee have to step down,” he says, “which means taking a step down in both terms of ‘status’ but also in terms of ‘power.’ Particular for people who have been long serving members like Rep. Smith, that can be seen as a negative.”

Smith, a San Antonio native, received his undergraduate degree from Yale and attended law school at Southern Methodist University.

In October, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus announced he also would not seek reelection in 2018.  Straus resides in Congressional District 21 and would be eligible to succeed Smith in 2018 if he so chose.