GOP Leader Announces Retirement In Wake Of Massive Scandal

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As the 2020 elections keep getting closer, one Texas Republican leader has given his party a grave headache with corrupt private dealings that have culminated in him announcing he won’t seek re-election. Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen made the announcement this Tuesday that he won’t seek re-election following the release of a tape of a conversation in which he urged a conservative group called Empower Texans to go after at least ten different Republicans currently serving in the state legislature. In that same recording, Bonnen can be heard ripping into Democrats — one of whom he called a “piece of shit” — and insisting that he wanted to make the next legislative session the worst “in the history of the legislature for cities and counties.”

Besides his political issues, there’s apparently a criminal investigation underway from the Texas Rangers into the attempted backroom dealing, which included Bonnen offering Sullivan a press credential in exchange for the targeting. In his statement announcing his retirement, Bonnen said:

‘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.’

For now, he’s still serving, but his state legislature seat will thereby be “open” for the first time in some two decades when the 2020 elections roll around. At present, Democrats are close to majority status in the state House, which sports a total of 150 members. Besides holding onto the seats they currently have, Democrats would have to flip just nine other seats to capture majority status and subsequently, the right to name a speaker of the House. Republicans already lost a dozen of their state House seats in 2018, so the political tides are definitely shifting that direction already…

Texas Democratic Party chair Gilberto Hinojosa insisted in response to the new Bonnen scandal:

‘Texans are tired of politicians, like Republican Speaker Bonnen, who use backroom deals, cover-ups and outright lies to pursue power over everything. Now more than ever, it is clear that only the election of Texas Democrats will return of ethics and good governance to our great state.’

The scandal first got going in late July, when Empower Texans leader Michael Quinn Sullivan first revealed that he’d met with Bonnen the previous month. Sullivan only recently released a recording he’d made of their conversation, however, and in the wake of Bonnen’s retirement announcement, derided him as a “cautionary tale.” By the time Bonnen announced his retirement, more than 30 Republicans in the state House had either called for him to resign or said they could no longer support his leadership.

Texas has been on the national political radar for some time, for reasons including the fact that in 2018, Beto O’Rourke came very close to unseating Republican Senator Ted Cruz in the traditionally deeply “red” state. Just recently, President Donald Trump held yet another rally in Dallas, and he has sought to usurp the state’s efforts to protect the border into his national agenda — although he’s been roundly rebuffed. After he claimed that El Paso was dangerous and then got safe after they put up a border wall, city officials chimed in to insist that those allegations of past danger simply were not true.