U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, announced Wednesday morning she won’t run for reelection.
She plans to serve out the remainder of her term.
“Serving my community has been the greatest honor, and I have always fought to improve the lives of my constituents,” Granger said. “As the first female Mayor of Fort Worth, first Republican United States Congresswoman from Texas, and the first female Republican Appropriations Chair, I have been able to accomplish more in this life than I could have imagined, and I owe it all to my incredible family, staff, friends, and supporters.”
Granger, 80, decided some time ago that she did not want to run for a 15th two-year term, five well-placed sources told the Fort Worth Report and KERA News ahead of the congresswoman’s announcement. The Report and KERA News were the first to report Granger’s plan to not seek reelection.
“I think she’s tired,” one source, who spoke on condition of anonymity so as to allow the lawmaker to make the announcement herself, said Tuesday. “She’s accomplished so much.”
The filing for elections begins Nov. 11 and lasts until Dec. 11.
“As I announce my decision to not seek re-election, I am encouraged by the next generation of leaders in my district. It’s time for the next generation to step up and take the mantle and be a strong and fierce representative for the people,” Granger said.
Full statement from U.S. Rep. Kay Granger:
“Today I am announcing that I will not seek re-election to the United States House of Representatives in 2024. Serving my community has been the greatest honor, and I have always fought to improve the lives of my constituents. As the first female Mayor of Fort Worth, first Republican United States Congresswoman from Texas, and the first female Republican Appropriations Chair, I have been able to accomplish more in this life than I could have imagined, and I owe it all to my incredible family, staff, friends, and supporters. The United States of America is the greatest country in the world because of our people and the vision of our Founding Fathers who created a nation that ensures every man, woman and child has the opportunity to succeed.
“As I announce my decision to not seek re-election, I am encouraged by the next generation of leaders in my district. It’s time for the next generation to step up and take the mantle and be a strong and fierce representative for the people.
“Although I am not running for re-election, I plan to serve out the remainder of my term and work with our new Speaker and my colleagues to advance our conservative agenda and finish the job I was elected to do.”
Granger represents Texas’ 12th Congressional District, which covers western Tarrant County and much of Parker County. She is the chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for funding most of the federal government’s activities.
When contacted by the Report about her plans Tuesday afternoon, Granger said, “We haven’t figured it out yet. We’ll figure it out soon. Keep in touch.”
Granger played a key role as part of a group of 20 Republicans who blocked Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, from becoming speaker. She supported Louisiana Republican Mike Johnson’s successful race for the spot.
As chair of the Appropriations Committee, Granger was in the middle of spending battles inside her party. She delivered on a number of projects important to Fort Worth: the Panther Island/Center City flood control project; defense funding; and the USS Fort Worth, the city’s namesake ship – she’s the ship’s sponsor – that she has protected from U.S. Navy cost-cutters.
Granger also has championed the federal government’s use of the F-35 fighter jet – a plane built at Fort Worth’s Lockheed Martin facility. Some of her top donors are from the defense and air transport industries, Bloomberg reports.
“She’s the most powerful Texan we’ve got,” said Ben Barnes, a lobbyist and former lieutenant governor of Texas who is a Democrat but has known and admired Granger for years. “I hope she runs.”
For decades, Granger was the public face of Panther Island, a $1.16 billion flood control project that will reroute part of the Trinity River and create hundreds of acres of riverfront development near downtown Fort Worth.
Thomas Marshall, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, said Granger’s absence will leave a big void for Fort Worth in Congress. He described Granger as “a giant in the Texas delegation.”
“She helped Fort Worth punch above its weight,” Marshall said.
A longtime member of the Appropriations Committee, Granger had put out the word earlier this year that she wanted a waiver from GOP rules that limit committee leadership to three consecutive two-year terms so as to be able to serve another term as chair if the GOP holds the House in 2024, or serve as the ranking member if Republicans don’t.
That decision is up to the speaker, who has influence on the selection of committee chairs, but wouldn’t be made until next year. Granger served two terms as the ranking chair when the GOP was in the minority and, in 2022, with a slim Republican majority in the House, was elected chair.
Marshall does not expect anyone, including her eventual successor, to be able to fill Granger’s shoes within the next decade. Congress rewards seniority, he said.
Primaries are March 5.
Marshall expects a crowd of Republicans to vie for Granger’s seat and for a lot of money to pour into the safe GOP district. Republican John O’Shea already has announced for the seat.
“When you look at that field of candidates, who are these people and are they prepared to make this their end of career commitment for the next 25 or 30 years?” the political scientist said.
Granger, a former educator who graduated from Texas Wesleyan University, has been a trailblazer from her time as Fort Worth’s mayor.
Granger’s political career began on Fort Worth’s Zoning Commission. From there, she was elected to Fort Worth City Council, and she became the first woman to serve as the city’s mayor in 1991.
In Congress, she was the only Republican woman in the Texas delegation from the time she was elected in 1996 to 2020, when Rep. Beth Van Duyne of Irving was elected.
Editor’s note: This story was updated Nov. 1, 2023, to add U.S. Rep. Kay Granger’s statement confirming her plans to not seek reelection in 2024.