One of the most liberal Republicans in the Texas House announced he will not be returning to the Legislature in 2023.
State Rep. Lyle Larson (San Antonio) announced the move in an email to his supporters shortly after the House finished a marathon session on redistricting that went into the early hours of the morning.
Larson was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2010. Since then, he has amassed one of the most liberal records of any Republican, earning a 31 on the most recent Fiscal Responsibility Index.
Just this year, Larson joined Democrats in advocating for Medicaid expansion. He was the only Republican House member to vote against election integrity legislation, as well as the only Republican to vote against arresting Democrat quorum-breakers who fled the state this summer to freeze progress on conservative priorities.
Most recently, he has championed legislation to weaken the state’s pro-life Heartbeat Act.
Larson had also flirted with the idea of leaving the Republican Party for a new moderate third-party effort called the Save America Movement (SAM) Party.
In 2018, Gov. Greg Abbott called Larson “one of the most liberal Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives.”
Just one year later, however, Abbott flipped and gave him his endorsement, saying voters could “put their trust in Representative Larson to faithfully advocate for the issues that matter most to Bexar County.”
After Larson made his announcement, Republican Party of Texas Chairman Matt Rinaldi jested that his departure could be an “opportunity for Republicans to pick up a House seat.”
Opportunity for Republicans to pick up a House seat. https://t.co/STvfs5DoRT
— Matt Rinaldi (@MattRinaldiTX) October 13, 2021
Former House Speaker Joe Straus, who Larson assisted in killing conservative priorities before he was forced out in 2018, called Larson “a person of decency & conviction,” adding that he was grateful for his “long friendship” with the outgoing lawmaker.
Lyle Larson is a person of decency & conviction. He has served his constituents well and been willing to speak difficult truths and stand on principle, no matter which way the winds were blowing. I’m grateful for my long friendship with Lyle, a true statesman & public servant.
— Joe Straus (@SpeakerStraus) October 13, 2021