U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe may soon make the jump from the House of Representatives to one of the highest intelligence positions in the country. While President Donald Trump nominated the North Texas lawmaker to fill the vacancy Sunday evening, the question many Texomans are asking is, what will happen to the position that Ratcliffe would be vacating?
A local government professor explained were Ratcliffe leave the 4th Congressional District of Texas.
“He will still have to go through the confirmation process and there is nothing stopping him from holding his post through that process,” Grayson College Government Professor Mary Linder said.
If he is confirmed, Ratcliffe would then be requited to step down from his elected seat. This would then trigger the need for a special election to fill the seat in the House of Representatives for the remainder of his term which ends in 2020. Unlike the U.S. Senate, a governor cannot appoint a house representative during a vacancy, Linder said.
The full election process takes three-to-six months to complete, but Linder said she could not rule out the possibility of it being on the November ballot if the confirmation process is quick. However, she would expect the election well before May.
During the interim, Linder said the 16 counties and two partial counties that Ratcliffe serves would not have a voice or a vote in the U.S. House. Ratcliffe’s Washington office would still operate and be able to assist constituents during this time, as it would operate under the clerk of the U.S. House, she said.
Ratcliffe’s seats on the homeland security, judiciary, intelligence and ethics committees would also need to be reassigned if he is confirmed to the director position. However, Linder said these seats would not necessarily go directly to Ratcliffe’s successor.
Ratcliffe was first elected to the U.S. House when he unseated long-time Rep. Ralph Hall following a runoff election in May 2014. Ratcliffe was successful in his two bids for reelection in 2016 and 2018. Prior to his tenure as a U.S. Rep, Ratcliffe also served a brief tenure as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas in 2007 and 2008 and the mayor of Heath from 2004 through 2012.
“I am deeply grateful to President Trump for the opportunity to lead our Nation’s intelligence community and work on behalf of all the public servants who are tirelessly devoted to defending the security and safety of the United States,” Ratcliffe said in a press release. “President Trump’s call to serve in this role was not one I could ignore, and I am incredibly thankful to him for this great honor. I look forward to my new role with energy and focus.”