January 6, 2017
U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson announced Friday morning that he will not seek re-election to represent his Plano-based seat in Congress.
Johnson, a Vietnam War veteran, made the announcement over email Friday.
“After much prayer, I have decided I will not seek re-election to serve the Third District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018,” he wrote. “This will be my final term in the appropriately named ‘People’s House.'”
A fighter pilot, Johnson flew combat missions in Korea and Vietnam, and he was an instructor at the Air Force Fighter Weapons School. The flyers call that institution “Top Gun.”
In 1966, his plane was shot down in North Vietnam and he spent seven years as a prisoner of war at the “Hanoi Hilton.”
After serving in Vietnam, Johnson was a home builder and served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1984 until 1991.
Johnson replaced Steve Bartlett, who resigned to serve as mayor of Dallas, in a congressional special election.
In the U.S. House, Johnson was a founder of what would become known as the Republican Study Committee, currently, the largest voting bloc of House Republicans.
He was a longtime member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
His 3rd District is strongly Republican, and the GOP primary will most likely determine who will replace him in Congress. Names floated as possible contenders include state Sen. Van Taylor, a Plano Republican, and Collin County Judge Keith Self.
It is safe to assume that other Republicans will give the seat a look.
“There’s no decision that’s been made, but I will certainly consider it,” Self told the Tribune.
Johnson’s retirement comes early in the midterm cycle, meaning that any primary campaign will likely last well over a year.
Reporter Matthew Watkins contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2017/01/06/us-rep-sam-johnson-retiring-congress/.