State Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, has made a late decision to not seek reelection after filing to run for another term in the Texas House.
Zedler's office confirmed the news to The Texas Tribune on Tuesday afternoon. Zedler withdrew from the race later Tuesday, according to the Tarrant County GOP.
The timing of Zedler's decision — the day after the filing deadline — triggers a deadline extension by five business days in the GOP primary for the seat. The news outlet The Texan first reported Zedler's retirement.
Zedler said his decision to retire was rooted in various health issues he's had in recent months.
"I kept thinking, "I'm gonna get better,'' he told the Tribune. "When I went and withdrew, it was kind of a relief — I can finally start giving more attention to my health."
Zedler, who said he still plans to be involved with politics, has served in the House every year since 2003, except for a two-year period after he lost reelection in 2008. He has also served as a member of the hardline conservative Texas House Freedom Caucus since it was formally created at the beginning of the 2017 legislative session.
Zedler was set to face a primary challenge from Mansfield Mayor David Cook, who filed to run for the seat. On top of that, state Democrats were already targeting Zedler after he won reelection last year by 4 percentage points. Crowley lawyer Joe Drago is the sole Democrat running for the seat in 2020.
Democrats cast the news Tuesday afternoon as the latest sign of GOP fatigue ahead of 2020.
"Texas is the biggest battleground state," Abhi Rahman, Texas Democratic Party spokesman, said in a statement. "That's why vulnerable State Representative Bill Zedler becomes the latest Republican to give up before getting thrown out of office."