TEXAS – Republican Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen announced Tuesday he will not seek reelection to the lower chamber in 2020. It comes after calls for his resignation intensified among members of his own party after a secret recording was released last week.
- Bonnen is the State Rep. for District 25
- Announcement comes after secret recordings released
"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 in a statement released Tuesday morning.
The recording released last week by conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan of Empower Texans revealed Bonnen offered Sullivan House media credentials in exchange for targeting 10 sitting House members in the 2020 primary election.
Bonnen also said insulting things about Democrats in the lower chamber. In his statement Tuesday, Bonnen said he respected, "…the manner in which [House members] have handled this entire situation."
After the recording was released last week, Bonnen issued a statement saying he did nothing criminally wrong. Currently, there's a criminal investigation into the matter by the Texas Rangers. He also insisted the House can "finally move on."
But since last week, more Republicans and Democrats have called on the speaker to resign.
Friday, the House GOP caucus met and released a statement condemning both Bonnen and Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, for their remarks. Burrows was also present for the June meeting with Sullivan and can be heard on the recording.
By Tuesday morning, more than 30 House Republicans had either called for the speaker to resign or had pulled support for him.
Gov. Greg Abbott issued the following statement Tuesday morning:
“I thank Speaker Bonnen for working with me this session to cut property taxes, to pass the Born Alive Act, to fund border security, to pass ten laws expanding Second Amendment rights, to protect individual liberty by banning red light cameras, to protect free speech on college campuses, to protect religious freedoms, and to put on the ballot this November the ability to permanently ban a state income tax. Before becoming Speaker, Dennis Bonnen represented his district for over two decades with an unparalleled passion and vigor. I applaud Speaker Bonnen for his commitment to making Texas a better state, and Cecilia and I wish him, Kim, and his entire family all the best in the future.
“Looking ahead to 2020, the Republican Party of Texas must unite and work together to retain a majority in the Texas House. To that cause, I am redoubling my efforts to ensure we achieve that goal. All Republican House members have a list of accolades that makes them worthy of reelection, and I will work with each of them to tell that story to voters in their district. With hard work and leadership, we will ensure they have the resources to win in 2020 and return next session to continue to build upon our conservative successes.“
Click the video link above to hear from Gov. Abbott and House members about Bonnen’s announcement. Our political analysts also weigh in on what happens now with a lame-duck speaker.