Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley says he’s decided not to run for Congress.

Brinkley said this week he won’t be a candidate for the Texas 13th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He had formed an exploratory committee to consider the idea, the Register reported in early October.

The incumbent, U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, announced Sept. 30 he was not seeking reelection in 2020 to represent the 13th District. Thornberry has represented the district since 1995.

“I still have a lot I would like to accomplish as county judge of Cooke County,” Brinkley said in a Thursday, Nov. 7 press release.

“The decision was one of the toughest decisions in my career, but from both a personal and professional standpoint, I know it is the right decision,” he added. “We have a tremendous county and tremendous employees here at Cooke County. My heart, at the moment, is in local government and representing the residents of Cooke County.”

Brinkley, a Republican, took office for his first term as county judge in 2015. He ran unopposed for his second term, which began this year and runs through 2022.

He noted in the release that “a diverse field of candidates” had begun forming for the Republican primary election next year. Five candidates have declared they intend to run for the House seat, according to Ballotpedia. Primary elections are set for March 3, 2020, and candidates may file their official application to be on the ballot beginning this Saturday, Nov. 9. according to the Texas Secretary of State’s website.

The Texas 13th Congressional District spans 44 counties in North Texas and the Panhandle, including Cooke County. It’s the most strongly Republican district in the nation, according to the Cook Partisan Voting Index.

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