As His Party Turns Against Him, Embattled TX Speaker Won’t Seek Reelection

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 30: Texas State Capitol building in Austin, Texas. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
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October 22, 2019 9:35 a.m.

Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R) is seeing himself out.

The embattled Republican announced on Monday that he won’t seek reelection after he was caught on tape asking an activist to take down members of his own party and subsequently lost the backing of many influential figures in his caucus.

Bonnen’s office did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment, but told the Texas Tribune in a statement that Bonnen would not be seeking reelection for his House seat, thus also forfeiting the speakership.

“After much prayer, consultation, and thoughtful consideration with my family, it is clear that I can no longer seek re-election as State Representative of District 25, and subsequently, as Speaker of the House,” Bonnen said.

Clandestinely recorded remarks made by Bonnen to conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan proved too much for the new speaker to overcome, especially after Sullivan leaked the recording, which captured Bonnen disparaging Democrats and members of his own party alike.

Per the Tribune, at the time Bonnen made his statement that he won’t seek reelection, more than 30 House Republicans had turned on the speaker. Dustin Burrows, the former caucus chairman who was also present at the meeting, resigned his post back in August.

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