Blake Farenthold was an unlikely congressman to begin with. And his unforeseen and surprising unplanned exit from Congress seemed just as unlikely three months ago.
That was back before October 5, when an out-of-nowhere Sexual Harassment Tsunami caught several movie and media personalities from behind, flat-footed, and then engulfed the political world.
In the beginning, in 2010, Farenthold won election to Texas' 27th Congressional District, through a combination of ambition, exposure, timing, and luck.
He did it by knocking off 17-year Democratic incumbent Solomon Ortiz, a well-known former Nueces County Sheriff, who won the newly created district in 1982.
Farenthold was born into wealth, from a string of forbears in various land and oil dealings, plus the practice of law. He attended Incarnate Word Academy, a Catholic high school in Corpus Christi.
A disc jockey in high school and college, Farenthold got a degree in Radio, Television and Film at The University of Texas at Austin, and a law degree from St. Mary's University in San Antonio.
He spent seven years in the Kleberg law firm, where step-grandfather Hayden Head Sr. was a partner. He then formed Farenthold Consulting LLC, a computer consulting and web design firm.
But key to his political rise was beginning to co-host a conservative Corpus Christi radio talk-show, "Lago in the Morning."
And then, 2010 was, for the Democrats after passage of ObamaCare, a very bad year.
In the 2010 GOP primary, Farenthold ran second of four candidates, but won the runoff, with 51.33 percent. And then he won a squeaker against Ortiz, -- 775 votes of more than 105,000 cast – a margin of 0.62 percent.
In another stroke of luck, 2011 reshaped the 27th district, from a South Texas-oriented electorate about 70 percent Latino to much less than that – and more Republican and less Democratic.
Farenthold topped 70 percent against three other candidates in the GOP primary, and got almost 57 percent in the general election. From there on, it was pretty easy sailing – until now.
Farenthold had been sued by a former congressional staffer in 2014 for sexual harassment. In 2015, the case was settled – but as it was revealed a few weeks ago, for $84,000 – in taxpayer dollars.
So in early December, voters saw the spectacle of a congressman who had confidently filed for a fifth term realizing that he was suddenly attracting several election opponents, and was very likely political toast.
Because the deadline for removing one's name from the primary ballot had passed Dec. 12, Farenthold's constituents were treated to his Republican Party suing to remove his name.
The Texas Democratic Party then sued to keep his name on the ballot, on grounds of obeying the law. But then, the Republicans realized that while they weren't supposed to be able to drop Farenthold's name, there was no penalty if they did so.
So they did so. And they dropped their suit, and the Democrats dropped theirs.
So now, there's a crowded race, to fill a seat where the incumbent decided retiring as gracefully as possible was probably more dignified, and significantly cheaper, than getting beat like a drum.
The only remaining question, other than who will be victorious in getting selected to go to Congress, is whether Farenthold retiring a year from now can stand up against the pressure of some Republicans seeking re-election to get him to quit now, in an effort to remove some blemish from their own campaign efforts.
The pressure to do so may be lessened by the retire-rather-than-quit Farenthold's fellow Texas Republican congressman, Joe Barton, making that choice, after some extra-marital affairs surfaced, thanks to a nude photo of him circulated on the internet.
But, whether Farenthold leaves sooner or later, as they might say in South Texas, Congressman, we bid you "Adios."
I've Heard That Name Before. . . . If the name "Farenthold" has a ring of familiarity, particularly for Texans in middle age or older, it should.
Frances "Sissy" Farenthold, who in 1969 was the lone woman in the 150-member Texas House of Representatives, became a household political name in 1972, when she forced the governor's Democratic primary race into a runoff.
Sissy Farenthold, who was as liberal a Democrat as Blake Farenthold is a conservative Republican, lost the runoff to Dolph Briscoe. He went on to coast to victory in the general election.
Farenthold tried again in 1974, but incumbent Briscoe easily dispatched her.
Sissy Farenthold was Blake's step-grandmother for 35 years, before she and Blake's grandfather divorced. Her tries for governor came before Blake was a teenager.