State Rep. Joe Pickett (D-El Paso) has decided not to enter the race to replace retiring State Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, who announced he would not seek reelection last week.
Pickett said he could not justify giving up his chair of the House Transportation Committee because it was too important to El Paso. From the Statesman:
“I am incredibly grateful and appreciative for all the support and encouragement I have received over the past few days. I received phone calls from numerous legislators on both the House and Senate side, as well as calls from constituents, friends, and family urging me to strongly consider running for the open Senate seat.
“After serious consideration and prayer, I have decided that I can best serve my constituents, the citizens of El Paso, and the State of Texas through my current position.
“It is a tremendous honor for me to serve as the Chairman of the House Transportation Committee and it is simply a position that I cannot, in the best interest of my constituents and the residents of El Paso County, relinquish. As a Chairman, I possess the ability to influence legislation that will best serve the region of El Paso and this is an opportunity that El Paso has never before possessed.”
State Rep. Norma Chavez and County Attorney Jose Rodriguez both have expressed interest in running. El Paso Mayor John Cook has said he likely will not run, but has not ruled anything out. Judge Richard Barajas is also said to be considering entering the race.