October 22, 2019
Texas House speaker Dennis Bonnen says he will not seek re-election in 2020, following a scandal connected to Empower Texans, its CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan and resulting lack-of-confidence statements from House members.
Bonnen said he intends to remain in the post until a new speaker is elected at the beginning of the 2021 legislative session and will assign committees in the lead-in to the 87th Legislature.
The Angleton Republican said in a statement Tuesday morning that “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 met with Sullivan in June along with Lubbock Rep. Dustin Burrows, offering Sullivan press credentials for access to the House floor, allegedly in exchange for help from Empower Texans in helping defeat several “moderate” Republicans.
Sullivan secretly taped the conversation, during which Bonnen disparaged Republicans and Democrats, and the tape was released last week, after which more than a dozen top House members said they no longer support Bonnen for speaker.
Dozens of people of have called for his resignation as speaker, including 19 members of the Southern Republican Executive Committee.
This sets off competition for the next Speaker of the Texas House, along with a new race for Bonnen’s Houston-area seat, which is solidly Republican.