Leaders of the Texas House Republican Caucus have denied a request for an in-person meeting next month, despite calls from Republican lawmakers to do so.
On Friday afternoon, 30 members of the caucus wrote a letter calling for a meeting to fill a vacancy in the caucus leadership. State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R–Lubbock) was recently forced to resign his position as caucus chair in light of his role in an ongoing scandal, in which House Speaker Dennis Bonnen made a quid pro quo offer of media credentials to Empower Texans CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan in exchange for political targeting of certain Republican members.
State Rep. Stephanie Klick (R–Fort Worth), who formerly served as the vice chair, took over after Burrows’ departure, leaving her former post vacated.
However, despite the large group of Republican lawmakers demanding an in-person meeting to conduct the election, Klick denied the request in a letter to members on Monday, instead stating that the election would be held electronically.
Additionally, Klick cited that the party’s current bylaws do not require a meeting to be held within seven days of receiving a letter, it is only required that the meeting is scheduled. Thusly, she “scheduled” the meeting of members for October 18, when the caucus is already scheduled to hold their annual retreat.
The call for an in-person meeting had been viewed by many in the Texas Capitol as a manifestation of the building opposition to Bonnen.
Sources in the GOP caucus say Klick is acting on behalf of Bonnen by delaying members from gathering to compare notes on the various falsehoods and misrepresentations he has issued in the wake of Sullivan allowing a limited release of his recording of their conversation to Republican lawmakers and activists.
The move is a surprisingly sharp rebuke of the 30 House Republicans of the 83-member caucus who signed the letter calling for a meeting to elect a new vice chair and potentially confront Bonnen and Burrows over their activities.
Thus far, three potential candidates have emerged for the position: State Reps. Jim Murphy (Houston), Hugh Shine (Temple), and Andrew Murr (Kerrville).