Texas Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen announced Tuesday he won’t be seeking re-election in 2020, fallout from an uncovered plot to unseat 10 GOP members.
State Rep. Phil Stephenson, R-Wharton, was one of those “X-Men” as he refers to the targeted group, a claim upheld by the released June 12 recording of a meeting between Bonnen, R-Lake Jackson, then GOP Caucus chief Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, and conservative activist Michel Quinn Sullivan of Empower Texans.
Bonnen’s announcement comes following a wave of GOP outcry starting on Friday with the House GOP Caucus meeting.
“He did the right thing,” Stephenson said Tuesday. “It’s for the integrity of Texas. This isn’t about me.
He added, “Now, we need to come together.”
The House GOP Caucus “condemned” Bonnen after a four-hour meeting Friday.
Monday, top Republican leaders Four Price of Amarillo, Dan Huberty of Houston, Lyle Larson of San Antonio, Chris Paddie of Marshall and John Frullo of Lubbock announced they were withdrawing their support of Bonnen and soon the group of non-supporters grew to 30-plus representatives.
“I think the people of Texas will know that we don’t stand for this kind of stuff. It’s a trust factor,” Stephenson said Tuesday.
Monday, before news of Bonnen’s decision broke, Stephenson expressed his disgust for the situation saying, “We’re supposed to be the party of integrity.”
Currently out of session, the House has no way to replace a speaker short of the governor calling a special session.
It’s time now, Stephenson said, to start planning for that next session with new leadership as he does not anticipate a special session to be called.
Stephenson has been calling for speaker’s resignation since before he even heard the tape, telling the newspaper on Aug. 1, “If somebody is that dumb to do this, we don’t need him in the legislature.”