After State Rep. Stephanie Klick (R–Fort Worth) denied members a meeting of the Texas House Republican Caucus, which she chairs, State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington) is asking her to reconsider the decision.
On Friday of last week, 30 members of the Texas House Republican 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.
Klick, 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. Thus, she “scheduled” the meeting of members for October 18, when the caucus is scheduled to hold their annual retreat.
Capitol sources saw the denial as an attempt by House leadership to avoid a congregation of Republican members in the wake of the Bonnen/Burrows scandal and the ongoing investigation.
Tinderholt, whose name was not among the 30 members who had originally requested the meeting, said he was concerned by Klick’s actions and implored her to reconsider, calling the decision “highly disappointing” and “unprecedented.”
“I am very concerned your first official act as Chairman of the House Republican Caucus was to ignore 40% of your constituency who made a fair and appropriate request under our Bylaws,” Tinderholt wrote. “I did not sign onto the original August 23rd letter requesting an in-person meeting to elect the new vice chairman, but I fully expected their request to be granted.”
In the letter, Tinderholt pointed to a similar request made by 14 members at the end of the 85th Texas Legislature in 2017, after which the caucus bylaws were changed to nominate a unified Republican speaker candidate.
That request was granted, but with more than twice as many members now calling for an in-person meeting, it seems that standard will no longer apply.
Texas Scorecard reached out to Klick’s office for comment regarding the Tinderholt letter, but was not provided with one at the time of publication.