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State Rep. Bill Zedler decides against reelection bid

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State Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, speaks at a Texans for Vaccine Choice event at the state Capitol in Austin on May 3, 2019. Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

State Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, has made a late decision to not seek reelection after filing to run for another term in the Texas House.

Zedler's office confirmed the news to The Texas Tribune on Tuesday afternoon. Zedler plans to withdraw from the race later Tuesday, which he must do to ensure his name does not appear on the 2020 ballot.

The timing of Zedler's decision — the day after the filing deadline — triggers a deadline extension by five business days in the GOP primary for the seat. The Texan first reported news of Zedler's retirement; the lawmaker told the outlet that he has "decided that I've given my years of service and we'll let someone younger and stronger take on the November elections."

Zedler has served in the House every year since 2003, except for a two-year period after he lost reelection in 2008. He has also served as a member of the hardline conservative Texas House Freedom Caucus since it was formally created at the beginning of the 2017 legislative session.

Zedler was set to face a primary challenge with Mansfield Mayor David Cook, who filed to run for the seat. On top of that, state Democrats were already targeting Zedler after he won reelection last year by 4 percentage points. Crowley lawyer Joe Drago is the sole Democrat running for the seat in 2020.

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