First elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, Congressman Blake Farenthold has been an interesting character to watch in Texas politics, and a rather confusing presence for the good people of the state’s 27th Congressional District. The winner of a razor-thin contest that year, the district was then gerrymandered (or as some prefer to say, gerrymangled) so much that it now leans heavily Republican. This has perpetuated a series of easy victories for the Congressman, even when he says and does things that may conflict with the needs and values of his constituents. His views on issues like immigration, for example, have been the source of much controversy. But with such a safe district now in his favor, Texans have wondered if there would ever be a way to challenge the legislator.
Well, as it turns out, the greatest challenger to Blake Farenthold happens to be his own behavior. As Abby Livingston of the Texas Tribune reports, the powerful Congressman’s time in Washington is now coming to an end…
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Corpus Christi, will retire from Congress after finishing his current term, a source close to the congressman told The Tribune Thursday morning. Farenthold soon confirmed the decision in an emotional video posted on Facebook.
The decision came after a difficult December for the four-term congressman. Farenthold, one of the quieter members of the Texas delegation, found himself embroiled in a charged atmosphere of sexual harassment allegations in Washington, D.C.
The final blow came in the form of a CNN report on Wednesday night highlighting new sexual harassment allegations that included former employees describing the congressman as verbally abusive and sexually demeaning.
While he “expected a tough primary campaign” and “was looking forward to it,” Farenthold said he would retire instead.
“I would be forced to engage in a month-long campaign for personal vindication,” he said. “That’s not why I came to Congress. Quite simply, my constituents deserve better.”
And on that last point, we have to agree. the constituents of his district definitely deserve better, and have deserved better for a long time. Just like US taxpayers deserved better than to have to pay $84,000 in taxpayer money for to settle a previous sexual harassment claim against him. Only when knowledge of the settlement became public did Farenthold, a millionaire, pledge to reimburse the funds with his own money.
With its present boundaries, Texas 27th will still be a tough race for any Democratic hopeful looking to flip the District. But at least now, they don’t have to worry about the incumbent.
Or to coin the phrase of another famous Texan…