Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen announced Tuesday he would not be seeking re-election in 2020. This comes after Michael Quinn Sullivan, who heads Empower Texans, said at a June 12 meeting between him, Bonnen and Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, a suggestion was made to pursue 10 House Republicans in elections. Sullivan was also told his group could have media access to the lower chamber in 2021. Bonnen was also caught on tape, calling some Democrats “vile” and using expletives to describe others.
More than 30 Republicans have either called for
Bonnen’s resignation or say they no longer supported him.
Five Texas House members affiliated with Empower Texans, including District 23 Rep. Mayes Middleton and District 128 Rep. Briscoe Cain, put out a joint statement, saying they are in favor of Speaker Bonnen resigning.
“The Speaker of the Texas House needs to step down,” said Empower Texans in a statement. “We all know the importance of the 2020 election and keeping Texas red. The redistricting fight coming next session and passing conservative grassroots priorities into law are imperative. The conservatives fought and won a critical change to the Republican caucus bylaws that only Republicans pick the Republican candidate for Speaker. That provision is now more important than ever. We must not allow the Democrats to pick the next Speaker of the House. We respectfully ask Governor (Greg) Abbott to call a special session so we can select the next Republican Speaker of the House.”
Aside from Cain and Middleton, District 60 Rep. Mike Lang, District 106 Rep. Jared Patterson, and District 150 Rep. Valoree Swanson contributed to the joint statement.
The Baytown Sun reached out to Rep. Middleton’s office for further comment, but no one responded.
Cain was asked who he would like to see take Bonnen’s place.
“A conservative Republican,” Cain said.
Cain added he had received a lot of calls about him running for House Speaker.
“I won’t be doing that,” Cain said. “I’m not interested. But I hope the next Speaker keeps the same parliamentarians and they properly and fairly apply the rules this session.”
Cain said he had not heard a response from Gov. Abbott’s office about the call for a special session.
“Recall that he was a (Texas) Supreme Court Justice,” Cain said. “I haven’t found him to make hasty decisions.”