On Thursday, the Texas House Republican Caucus chairman, State Rep. Jim Murphy (Houston), announced that he will not be seeking re-election.

Murphy was first elected in 2006 and represents Texas House District 133, which is comprised of a portion of the west side of the city of Houston. Murphy currently serves as the chairman of the House Higher Education Committee as well as chairman of the House Republican Caucus.

Murphy routinely voted against many of his fellow Republican colleagues and Texas GOP legislative priorities. He was also consistently rated among the lowest Republicans on several legislative indexes. Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (TFR) rated Murphy a 35 out of 100 on their Fiscal Responsibility Index once the 87th session was completed, while the average Republican was rated as a 57. The Rice University index rated him as the 76th most conservative lawmaker out of a caucus of 83 in 2021. Young Conservatives of Texas rated Murphy as a 57 out of 100 in 2019 (they have not yet released their ratings for the latest legislative session).

Murphy was a huge proponent of corporate welfare under the guise of economic development and consistently led the effort in favor of Chapter 313 school property tax abatements. He was also an advocate for use of the Major Events Reimbursement Program, which is a state government scheme that uses citizens’ money to help fund hand-picked events in the state. He routinely voted with liberal Democrats on social justice schemes and expanding welfare programs.

Murphy’s retirement potentially represents a reprieve for conservative activists in Texas who routinely organize and rally around priority needs in the state and have seen their efforts countered or ignored by House GOP leadership.

Jeramy Kitchen

Jeramy Kitchen serves as the Capitol Correspondent for Texas Scorecard as well as host of 'This Week in Texas', a show previewing the week ahead in Texas politics. After managing campaigns for conservative legislators across the state, serving as Chief of Staff for multiple conservative state legislators, and serving as Legislative Director for the largest public policy think tank in Texas, Jeramy moved outside of the Austin bubble to focus on bringing transparency to the legislative process.