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
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.

The Texan Tumbler

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.


Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.

Get “KB's Hot Take”

A free bi-weekly commentary on current events by Konni Burton.

Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is the Marketing and Media Manager for The Texan. After graduating with a double-major in Political Science and Humanities, he wrote for The Texan as a reporter through June 2022. In his spare time, you're likely to find him working on The Testimony of Calvin Lewis, an Abolition of Man-inspired novel and theatrical podcast.