March 4, 2022 — It was on a somewhat surprising note that north Texas area Congressman Van Taylor (R-Plano) was forced into a runoff from Tuesday’s primary election, but Wednesday’s related events proved astonishing.
Rep. Taylor has announced that he is withdrawing from the runoff, making public an extra-marital affair in which he engaged. Apparently, affair rumors began to surface late in the primary contest. Clearly knowing the story would become public, he admitted the indiscretion and immediately departed the race.
Under Texas election procedure, a candidate qualifying for a runoff election can decline to participate. The concession means the opponent automatically wins the party nomination. Thus, former Collin County Judge (Executive) Keith Self is the new 3rd District Republican nominee with an accompanying ticket to Washington, DC after the Nov. 8 election.
Taylor only secured 48.7 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s primary, meaning that a majority of Republican primary voters chose another candidate. This is never a good sign for any incumbent and the chief reason that most incumbents fail when forced to the secondary election. Adding the personal baggage obviously told Rep. Taylor that his re-election chances were irreparably diminished.
Self is a retired career West Point Academy Army officer who placed second in the primary with 27.1 percent, outlasting third-place finisher Suzanne Harp, a hard-charging businesswoman who proved to be surprisingly strong. The new congressional nominee presided over Collin County, an entity with now more than 1 million people, for three terms and chose to retire in 2018. In the congressional primary, he campaigned to Rep. Taylor’s right.
The 2022 congressional venture is not Self’s first run for the US House. In 2002, he entered the open 26th District race after then Majority Leader Dick Armey (R) announced his retirement. He placed third in that race behind then-Denton County Judge Scott Armey, son of the retiring Representative, and Dr. Michael Burgess. The latter man would of course defeat Armey in the Republican runoff, win the seat in November of that year, and still holds the position today. Now, 20 years later, the two former opponents will likely serve together in the next Congress.
Taylor first won the 3rd District seat in 2018, succeeding the venerable Rep. Sam Johnson (R), an American war hero who was retiring from the House after serving 28 years. Prior to winning the congressional seat, Taylor served three terms in the Texas House of Representatives and one as a state senator.
His first run for Congress, however, began more than 100 miles away from his current district. In the Waco-anchored district at the time, Taylor lost to then-Rep. Chet Edwards (D) in the 2006 election. After his stinging defeat, Taylor moved to the DFW Metroplex.
The congressman recorded 54-44 and 55-43 percentage margins in the 2018 and 2020 congressional elections, respectively, from a district that was beginning to trend more Democratic.
The 2022 redistricting plan restored the 3rd to strong Republican status, so Self now becomes a prohibitive favorite to defeat new Democratic nominee Sandeep Srivastava, a realtor and community activist. According to the FiveThirtyEight data operation, the new 3rd is rated R+23, a significant improvement from the previous 3rd’s R+11 score. Dave’s Redistricting App scores the new 3rd 58.7 percent R; 38.6% D.
TX-3 is anchored in Collin County, just north of Dallas, and then annexes approximately 85 percent of bordering Hunt County. A total of 73.3 percent of its territory comes from the current 3rd District, another 18.3 percent comes from Rep. Pat Fallon’s (R) 4th CD and a final 8.4 percent from Rep. Colin Allred’s (D) current 32nd District.