West Texas is taking another blow with Rick Hardcastle's decision not to seek another term in the Texas House. The Vernon Republican's announcement wasn't unexpected — it's been rumored for months — but it takes another veteran out of a delegation that's already peppered with tenderfeet. Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, is also leaving the House, and John Smithee of Amarillo will be the only tenured state representative from the area.
Hardcastle was elected to the House in 1999 and chairs the Agriculture and Livestock Committee. He wasn't paired with another incumbent in redistricting, but the new map made big changes to his district. His new district stretches across 22 counties and includes parts of the Panhandle, the South Plains and North Texas — all the way east to Cooke County, north of Denton.