It’s a trying time for the GOP in Texas.
State Rep. Dustin Burrows resigned as chair of the Texas House GOP Caucus on Friday amid allegations that he planned to target members of his own party in the upcoming 2020 primaries, according to the Texas Tribune.
Members of the caucus received an email Friday from the group’s executive committee announcing that it had “met and accepted” Burrows’ resignation from his position of chair.
For months, Burrows has been facing pressure from Michael Quinn Sullivan, a conservative activist who leads Empower Texans. In July, Quinn accused Burrows of trying to make a deal wherein Empower Texans would only be granted media access to the House in 2021 if it agreed to target 10 GOP members in 2020.
During the June 12 meeting, Burrows allegedly even went so far as to provide a list of the 10 members he wanted to be targeted. As proof, Sullivan says that he secretly recorded the meeting. Other Texas Republicans have verified the recordings, but they have not been released publicly.
The incident is now being investigated by the Texas Rangers, who have announced an “initial inquiry” into the June meeting. If this initial inquiry finds “reasonable suspicion” that Burrows did something illegal, then the matter will be turned over to state prosecution.
Following Burrows’ resignation, Sullivan appeared vindicated on Twitter, writing: “Hypocrisy, unethical offers, denials, lies, and now a resignation. Only thing left in this saga is a cover-up.”
Here, Sullivan would find some common ground with the state’s Democrats, who are hoping to use this incident to gain some seats — perhaps even a majority — in the Texas House.
Missing from all of this, however, is the role of House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, who is said to have joined Burrows in his effort to oust GOP members.
Bonnen has yet to address his involvement in the matter, but in response to Burrows’ resignation, he stated that Burrows “was a strong leader for the caucus.”
“I respect his decision and I remain committed to strengthening our majority,” he added.
Rep. Stephanie Klick will take over for Burrows as head of the caucus until the next biennial election in 2021.