Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen will not seek re-election for the first time in 23 years, he announced Tuesday morning.
The statement comes one week after Michael Quinn Sullivan, hardline conservative CEO of Empower Texans, released the audio of a June meeting with Bonnen and Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock.
The audio supported Sullivan’s claims Bonnen offered him media access in exchange for targeting 10 sitting House Republicans. Bonnen also made several derogatory comments about members of both parties and local governments.
“Since Friday, I have had numerous conversations with Members who care deeply about the Texas House, and I respect the manner in which they have handled this situation,” Bonnen’s Tuesday morning statement reads. “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. I care deeply about this body and the work we have accomplished over the years, namely, the outstanding success we achieved in the 86th Legislature."
The filing period for legislative seats does not start until Nov. 9. With Bonnen's decision, emergency room nurse Rhonda Seth is the only candidate who has announced an intention to seek the 25th District seat.
Bonnen was first elected to represent House District 25 in 1996. On Jan. 8, during his 12th term, members of the House unanimously elected as speaker.