*Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect a statement from Phillip Huffines.

State Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, has decided not to run for Texas Senate, passing up what could have been a marquee race in the 2018 primary season. 

"After much prayer, counsel and reflection on the Special Session, I have decided to seek another term in the Texas House of Representatives serving the citizens of House District 66," Shaheen wrote Friday on Facebook. "It is clear that the battle for the future of a better Texas lies in the House of Representatives and I belong in that fight."

Shaheen's decision clears the field for Phillip Huffines, the chairman of the Dallas County GOP, in his campaign for Senate District 8. The seat is currently held by state Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, but he is expected to give it up to run for Congress.

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Huffines is the twin brother of state Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas. 

Shaheen is the second state representative to take a pass on vying for the promotion with Huffines, who launched his bid in March. State Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, had been considering a run but announced in May he wanted to stay in the House.

Shaheen had given strong signals that he would run for Senate District 8. In June, he held at least one fundraiser that guests were told was for a potential Senate run. 

Huffines, a wealthy and well-connected businessman, would have been a formidable opponent. In the first three months of his campaign, he raised over $550,000 and loaned himself $1.5 million.

After Shaheen's announcement, Huffines issued a statement praising Shaheen as a "principled conservative and a true patriot."

"I look forward to working with Representative Shaheen on the campaign trail," Huffines said. "Our campaign will continue to work hard to put out our conservative message, and earn every vote. We gain momentum every day."

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • Phillip Huffines, whose twin brother Don already serves in the Senate, submitted paperwork to begin raising money for a campaign for Senate District 8. [Full story]

  • Businessman Phillip Huffines has won election to chair the ailing Dallas County GOP, just under two weeks after its former leader abruptly resigned. [Full story]

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