86th LegislatureElections 2020IssuesState HouseStatewide NewsRep. Dustin Burrows Endorsed by Governor Abbott Despite Empower Texans Controversy

Governor Abbott has endorsed embattled Rep. Dustin Burrows' reelection bid after the Lubbock Republican resigned as chair of the House GOP Caucus.
August 22, 2019
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Today, Governor Greg Abbott endorsed Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) for reelection. 

“As the author of House Bill 2, Representative Burrows championed the sweeping property tax reforms that Texas taxpayers demanded,” said Abbott of the Ways and Means chairman. 

Just yesterday, Burrows announced his intention to run for reelection in 2020. 

This comes after a month of controversy surrounding his closed-door meeting with Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) and grassroots leader Michael Quinn Sullivan of Empower Texans. 

According to Sullivan, Burrows was the one to read off the list of 10 targeted GOP state representatives that Bonnen wanted Sullivan to challenge in the primaries. 

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Sullivan announced he had a recording of the meeting, and multiple GOP state representatives and grassroots leaders have come to Austin to listen in the presence of Sullivan’s lawyer. 

Their accounts overwhelmingly support the account told by Sullivan in his initial piece detailing the meeting. 

Until today, Burrows, a lawyer by trade, has maintained radio silence since Sullivan divulged details of the meeting.

Burrows broke his silence on Lubbock radio host Chad Hasty’s program this morning, and joined the likes of Bonnen and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick in calling for the “full, unedited, complete, immediate release of the tapes.”

He said there was no “physical list” but that some “subjective calls” were made as he parsed through the recorded vote of those members who voted against the taxpayer-funded lobbying limitations measure during the legislative session. 

“It was very off the cuff,” Burrows claimed. He also confirmed that he was not the one to offer Sullivan media credentials.

Multiple sources who have heard the recording confirmed to The Texan that Bonnen, in the meeting with Sullivan and Burrows, told Sullivan “He’ll [Burrows] show you the list.”

Additionally, sources have confirmed that Burrows explicitly voiced support for ousting members on the list, like Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches). 

Daniel Greer of Direct Action Texas heard the recording, and published confirmed quotes of the conversation, including Burrows stating, “we would be thrilled to see someone else come back in [Clardy’s] district.”

Burrows, who served as chairman of the House Republican Caucus during the 86th legislative session, oversaw the adoption of new caucus bylaws that prohibit members of the caucus from actively campaigning, or even “assisting” in campaigning, against their fellow Republican members. 

Violation of the bylaw by any member could result in forced removal from the caucus.

Just last week, Burrows resigned as chairman of the Republican caucus, yielding the influential position to Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth). 

Abbott ended his endorsement by calling Burrows “a servant leader who puts the needs of his constituents first,” and continued saying, “I look forward to continuing our important work together as we create an even brighter future for the state of Texas.”

Burrows has drawn a primary challenger in David Speer, a public school teacher who announced his candidacy for the seat in Lubbock on August 7. 

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McKenzie Taylor

McKenzie Taylor

McKenzie Taylor serves as Operations Manager and resident plate-spinner for The Texan. Previously, she worked as State Representative Kyle Biedermann’s Capitol Director during the 85th legislative session before moving to Fort Worth to manage Senator Konni Burton’s campaign. In her free time, you might find her enjoying dog memes, staring at mountains, or proctoring personality tests.