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High profile candidates enter race for 22nd Congressional District seat

TEXAS – There’s a lot of buzz from Texas to Washington over a big Decision 2020 race: The 22nd Congressional District, which includes some of Houston’s largest suburbs.

The high-profile race is drawing some high-profile candidates. Here’s a closer look into those candidates.

Seventeen Republicans are running to replace Congressman Pete Olson in the suburban district that sprawls across Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria counties.

The front runners on the Republican side appear to be Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls, who officially announced his campaign Saturday night. His top issues include immigration, gun rights, term limits and the deficit.

“I support President Trump and policies on immigration. We need to have term limits in Congress. We have individuals up there spending three, four, five decades. Are you kidding me? We have to have term limits,” Nehls said.

Another high profile candidate jumped into the race Monday. Pierce Bush, who is the the grandson of late President George H.W. Bush, and nephew of President George W. Bush has put his name in the race. Pierce Bush is currently CEO of nonprofit Big Brothers Big Sisters-Lone Star. This will be his first political race.

“I know what it means to be a legislative leader, it means outreaching, it means earning people trust and support and that’s what I plan to do,” Pierce Bush said.

Also a factor, Republican activist Kathaleen Wall, who lost a bid for the 2nd Congressional District last year after funding her campaign with $6 million of her own money.

With so many candidates running on the Republican side, Rice University political scientist Mark Jones said a runoff is virtually certain.

“The real race right now is to get into that May runoff, and roughly 15-20% of the vote will get you there,” Jones said.

But unlike past years, the winner on the Republican side won’t be a shoo-in.

Democrats flipped some local seats in the last election cycle, and this year, the national Democratic Party is committing more resources to try to do it in District 22.

Last year, Democrat Sri Kulkarni finished just five points behind Olson in the run for District 22.

This year, Kulkarni is running again, along with Democratic hopefuls Nyanza Davis Moore, Pearland City Councilman Derrick Reed and Chris Fernandez.