Elections 2022State SenateTexas State Senator Kel Seliger Announces Retirement

State Sen. Kel Seliger announced that he will not be seeking reelection to the state legislature, leaving the seat open for a new member.
October 20, 2021
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State Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) announced that he would not be seeking reelection to Senate District (SD) 31 in 2022, leaving the seat open for a new member from West Texas or the Panhandle.

“After thoughtful consideration and with the reassurance of my family, including my new very vocal granddaughter, I have decided not to be a candidate for re-election to the Texas Senate,” said Seliger in a statement. “From my first campaign in 1989 to today, I have felt overwhelmingly proud to serve the Panhandle, South Plains, and the Permian Basin.”

Seliger was first elected to the state Senate in 2004.

His announcement comes after some intra-party drama, as former President Donald Trump endorsed his opponent, Midland oil businessman Kevin Sparks.

With a new state Senate map that takes out counties from the Panhandle and adds some in near the Permian Basin, Seliger accused his GOP colleagues of drawing the new lines to favor Sparks, a former Texas Public Policy Foundation board member.

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In the announcement of his retirement, Seliger touted being “known for his unwavering support of local control, public education, higher education, sexual assault awareness and prevention, and battling human trafficking.”

“The opportunity to serve as Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee and Senate Select Committee on Redistricting, as well as a longtime member of the Finance and Education Committees, allowed me to be impactful in areas of great importance to me and the entire state,” said Seliger.

“I am no less dedicated to the fundamental principles of smaller government, local control, and real fiscal conservatism as I was when I first ran for the Texas Senate.”

Seliger was often a pivotal swing vote among Senate Republicans, especially as the GOP majority thinned over the past several election cycles.

Most recently, he broke from his caucus on key votes on the state Senate map and a measure to audit the 2020 election — specifically called for by Trump.

In 2018, the most recent primary election for SD 31, Seliger narrowly avoided a runoff against two Republican opponents with only 50.4 percent of the vote. Both of those former opponents, like Trump, have endorsed Sparks for 2022.

In addition to Sparks, Big Spring steel business owner Stormy Bradley also launched a campaign for SD 31 long before Seliger’s announcement.

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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.