Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas) is retiring from Congress at the end of his current term, according to two sources who spoke with a Texas newspaper.
Smith's office has not made any public announcement, but in an email obtained by the Texas Tribune, he wrote that it "seems like a good time" to give the privilege of serving his district to someone else."
"For several reasons, this seems like a good time to pass on the privilege of representing the 21st District to someone else," Smith's email said. "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."
Smith was first elected to Congress in 1986 and currently serves as the Chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, the Tribune reports:
The news was not entirely surprising. Smith's name has repeatedly surfaced as a member of Congress with the potential to retire.
But there was one argument for why he should stay. Smith is a deft legislator and had positioned himself to possibly succeed another Texan, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, as chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee.
Smith has served as a committee chairman twice: on the Science, Space & Technology Committee and on the Judiciary Committee in the early 2010s.
One of the most senior members of the delegation, Smith has had a low-key style of leadership. For example, in 2014, U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall, a Rockwall Republican, faced a fierce primary threat from now-U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe and had very little money to fend off the challenge. Smith realized before most that Hall was in trouble and rounded up campaign donations from the other Republicans in the Texas delegation.
Fellow Texas Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling also announced on Tuesday he would not seek another term.