FIRST ON CBS7: U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway announces retirement from Congress

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1:30 p.m. Update: U.S. Representative Mike Conaway of Midland has announced that he will be retiring from Congress once his term has ended.

U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland.

Conaway released the following statement on his retirement:

“Representing the people of the 11th District of Texas has been an honor and privilege that I cannot adequately describe. Over the years, Suzanne and I have been blessed to work with the finest group of public servants. They have served unselfishly in an exemplary manner.

“While serving in Congress, I have asked Suzanne and our family to make innumerable sacrifices. She and they have willingly made those necessary sacrifices, but they were still sacrifices. The time has come for me to put Suzanne, my children, and my grandchildren first.

“This chapter in our lives has been more fulfilling than I could ever have imagined. But all things come to an end point, and my 8th term will be mine. I will fulfill my duties to the 11th District by serving the rest of the term.

“I am proud of my career in public service. As a CPA, I think through things in terms of numbers. Including my time in the military, I will have spent 34% of my adult life in public service. I thank each and every person who has given me a helping hand during this journey, including voters, staff, donors, volunteers and friends. I could not have done the job I have done without each of you. My heartfelt thanks to you all.”
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TEXAS TRIBUNE -- U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Midland, a longtime fixture in the Texas delegation, is planning to retire from Congress at the end of his term, Politico has reported.

His retirement is a major blow to the state's clout within the Republican conference. Conaway is a well-regarded figure on Capitol Hill and has served as chairman of the House Ethics and Agriculture committees. He is the ranking member of the Agriculture Committee. His decision is somewhat of a surprise to some delegation insiders; Conaway was on track to take GOP leadership of the House Intelligence Committee in the coming years.

Conaway reached the pinnacle of his career last year, when he moved the massive farm bill spending package through Congress. He also led the House investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. And as a member and certified public accountant, he uncovered a massive fraud scandal at the House campaign arm during the 2008 cycle.

He has served in Congress since 2005. His West Texas district, which includes Midland and San Angelo, is heavily Republican and is all but certain to stay in the Republican column next year. He won reelection against Democrat Jennie Lou Leeder by more than 60 percentage points in 2018.

This is the second official retirement in the delegation this cycle, and more are expected to come before the December filing deadline.

U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, announced his retirement last week. U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Heath, may end up vacating his East Texas seat with his recent nomination to be U.S. director of National Intelligence.

Patrick Svitek contributed reporting.

CONGRESSMAN CONAWAY HAS SCHEDULED A NEWS CONFERENCE FOR 1:30 PM TODAY IN MIDLAND. WE PLAN TO CARRY IT LIVE ON THE CBS7 NEWS FACEBOOK PAGE.