After announcing just last week that he would retire from the Texas Legislature and seek a local office, State Rep. Mike Lang (R-Granbury) has reneged on that retirement announcement and says he will seek re-election instead.
In an initial email last Thursday, Lang announced he would be retiring from the Texas Legislature and seeking election as Hood County Commissioner.
“The fight starts at home and we need experienced servant leaders. I believe we can make Hood County a shining example of what local control truly embodies. Though in a different arena, I am still called to fight,” wrote Lang last week. “This fight has been long overlooked by conservatives, and it starts at the local level.”
“Leading by example is the only way we will win the war against the Democrats. The front lines are not in DC or Austin; it’s in our backyard,” he concluded.
However, in an email Monday afternoon, Lang says he has reconsidered last week’s decision, choosing now to steer clear from what he called “front lines” at the local level and instead seek re-election to the Texas House.
“Earlier this week, I announced my intentions to not seek re-election to the Texas House of Representatives and instead focus on serving at the county level,” wrote Lang in today’s email. “Since my announcement, I have heard from many members of our community and conservative leaders who stressed to me how important it is that I continue as state representative.”
“I’m proud of my job as state representative, and the work we’ve accomplished in the Texas Legislature. Property tax reform and relief, Robin Hood tax reduction, banning cities and counties from funding abortions, and school finance reform that puts us on a path to completely buying down the school M&O property tax,” he added.
While Lang may be proud of the outcomes of the Texas Legislature, conservative activists and voters were considerably less enthused by the results.
Contrary to Lang’s claims, property tax reform and relief were actually so meager that most Texans will still see a tax increase; Robin Hood wealth redistribution was simply frozen rather than reduced; cities such as Austin can (and are) continuing to provide monetary support for abortion; and the state is on no path to “completely buying down the school M&O tax.”
In a commentary published with Texas Scorecard, Grassroots America’s JoAnn Fleming summarized the results of said purple session as an overall loss for conservatives.
“While Republicans passed some ‘good intention’ bills, far too many bills important to preserving and advancing Texas-style liberty were either killed by Republicans or not filed at all this session,” she wrote. “That is how we ended up with a purple session.”
True Texas Project’s Julie McCarty agreed, and added much of those outcomes were the fault of Lang and the Freedom Caucus, a group of ostensibly conservative-minded legislators who claim to “amplify the voice of the grassroots.”
McCarty said despite the claim, Lang and other legislators told her to be quiet and refrain from “stirring the pot.”
“Every one of them was like, ‘No, this is a different day, and we have to get along with these people. If we went in there just blasting people left and right like we’ve been able to do in the past, then we wouldn’t even have a seat at the table.’”
McCarty also said the Freedom Caucus told grassroots leaders the rationale for this plan was because of all of the “backroom deals” being made behind the scenes. Yet as promises to eventually deliver what the grassroots wanted failed to materialize, the strategy remained the same.
“They still were telling us to sit down and be quiet,” McCarty said. “I can’t keep supporting candidates who are going to do that.”
McCarty isn’t alone in her frustration. She and scores of other activists have already declared they will not support Lang and incumbent legislators like him in their re-election campaigns.
That frustration and intention was quantified this summer when Lang released a campaign finance report showing he’d raised a mere $4,860 following the legislative session—$100,000 less than what he’d raised following the 2017 legislative session.
Even worse, according to Transparency Texas, the total fundraising of Lang’s Freedom Caucus is down 62 percent compared to two years ago.
Thus far Lang has two opponents in the 2020 Republican Primary election: Glenn Rogers, a Palo Pinto County rancher and veterinarian, and Kellye SoRelle, a Granbury attorney. Both have indicated they intend to run regardless of Lang’s back-and-forth.
House District 60, which includes Lang’s Hood County as well as Brown, Callahan, Coleman, Eastland, Palo Pinto, Schackelford, and Stephens counties, is considered a safe Republican district.