As your hard-hitting political pundit, here’s a tidbit that will have a major impact on the 2020 race in Texas 7th Congressional District.
Former Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, perhaps the most popular Republican figure in the Houston area, and maybe the only Republican who would be favored to win, will not challenge incumbent Democrat Lizzie Pannill Fletcher.
“I have absolutely no interest in running for Congress. I am teaching at Rice University, and I’m doing some consulting work. But mostly, I intend to spend the next two years working on my tennis game,” Emmett tells me during an exclusive interview ... between sets of our weekly match at Judson Park in West University Place.
The 7th Congressional District, one of the most affluent districts in Texas, includes West University Place, Bellaire, Southside Place, Jersey Village, the Med Center, and other parts of Houston. While Republican Emmett was caught in a Democrat tidal wave in Harris County in 2018, he out-performed every Republican on the ballot in Harris County. He lost to Democrat rookie candidate Lina Hidalgo by only 18,000 votes.
However, if you just count the 7th Congressional District, he received more votes than any candidate, Democrat or Republican. He won 66 percent of the vote in West U, and 61 percent in Bellaire.
I ask Emmett: “What would you do if President Trump calls you and says, ‘I want you to run for Congress. The Republicans must win that seat if we are going to take back the House. I need you, and your party needs you’? Will that change your mind?”
His response: “No.” Then, he adds: “My political interests now are more at the state level.”
He also swears up and down that he has no desire of a return match against Hidalgo for Harris County Judge in 2022.
My guess, technically a hunch, based on nothing but my infallible crystal ball: He will run for Harris County Judge. I’ve lost too many tennis sets to him after leading 5-3 to believe he doesn’t want his old job back.