Another state lawmaker is running for Congress next year.

State Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Terrell, is entering the race for Texas' 5th Congressional District, where U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas, announced in October that he's not seeking re-election. Gooden, whose current district covers a large part of CD-5 , is the fourth state lawmaker to launch a bid for the U.S. House amid a recent spate of retirements in the Texas delegation

"We need a new Congressman of East Texas, by East Texas and for East Texas who understands the traditional values that we share, and who knows that our churches and our schools and our shops on Main Street are the lifeblood of our communities," Gooden said in a statement addressing supporters. "Our way of life is sacred, and it is worth fighting to protect and defend for our children and our children’s children. With your support and your prayers, I am ready to go to Washington and do the same thing that I did in Austin – roll up my sleeves, fight for you, and win for you."

Several other Republicans have jumped in the race for CD-5 since Hensarling's retirement announcement. The most prominent are former state Rep. Kenneth Sheets of Dallas and GOP fundraiser Bunni Pounds, whom Hensarling has endorsed to succeed him.

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"Make no mistake, the Washington establishment will not go quietly," Gooden said in the statement. "They are already lining up behind their hand-picked candidates, many of whom do not even live in our district and who couldn’t find Alto or Elmo on a map if their lives depended on it."

Gooden's decision to run for Congress opens up his seat in Texas House District 4. Two Republicans are already running for the seat: Forney pastor Marty Reid and former HD-4 Rep. Stuart Spitzer, who unseated Gooden in 2014 but lost a rematch in 2016. A Democrat, Seven Points pastor Eston Williams, is also making a run for the seat. 

Gooden is not the only state legislator vying for a newly open congressional seat next year. State Rep. Kevin Roberts, R-Houston, is running for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Houston. State Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, is making a bid for the seat from which U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, is retiring. And state Sen. Sylvia Garcia is competing for the seat being left open by the retirement of U.S. Rep Gene Green, a fellow Houston Democrat.

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a powerful Dallas Republican who has served in Congress since 2003, announced he won't seek re-election to a ninth term. [Full story]

  • A half-dozen members of the Texas congressional delegation have already given up their seats — and the elections haven't even started yet. This cycle could see more changes than a redistricting year, when disruption is the norm. [Full story]

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