This story was updated with new developments Monday night.
The line of Denton County leaders calling for Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen to resign after he was caught making disparaging remarks about city and county leaders grew longer on Monday.
State Rep. Lynn Stucky, R-Denton, posted on Twitter a series of tweets Monday saying he “can no longer support” Bonnen as speaker and the Texas House needs new leadership.
Denton Mayor Chris Watts said Monday afternoon he wants Bonnen to resign and that he is crafting a public statement to officially call for Bonnen’s resignation.
The Town Council in Double Oak, a rural community near Flower Mound, passed a resolution calling for Bonnen’s resignation during its Monday night council meeting. Double Oak Mayor Mike Donnelly prepared the resolution and presented it to the council, the town’s secretary, Eileen Kennedy, wrote in an email.
Last Wednesday, Democratic state Rep. Michelle Beckley of Carrollton was the first Denton County official to publicly call for Bonnen’s job. Later that day, state Rep. Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound, rebuked Bonnen and asked for Bonnen’s resignation. Denton County Judge Andy Eads, a Republican, published a statement Thursday denouncing Bonnen’s comments and called for Bonnen to step down as speaker.
Dozens of officials across every level of government in Texas have said they want Bonnen out as speaker. Last Monday, Michael Quinn Sullivan, the CEO of the conservative activist organization Empower Texans, released secretly recorded audio of Bonnen saying in a meeting that he intentionally tried to make it hard on city and county officials in the 2019 legislative session.
“Any mayor [or] county judge that was dumbass enough to come meet with me, I told them with great clarity, my goal is for this to be the worst session in the history of the Legislature for cities and counties,” Bonnen is heard saying in the clip.
Bonnen posted a series of tweets Monday night clarifying his statements as five of the Texas House’ top Republicans announced they no longer support Bonnen as speaker. He wrote that he was referring only to “large, progressive, urban” city and county governments and not rural local governments. He said larger communities have worked against Texas taxpayers in recent legislative sessions and have “run amok.”
“I have great respect & admiration for our city & county officials,” Bonnen wrote.
... It was clear from the discussions at the Republican Caucus Retreat that the level of distrust and division within our ranks can only be healed by new leadership. It is vital that we move forward with clear eyes and full hearts.— Lynn Stucky, D.V.M. (@RepLynnStucky) October 21, 2019
Last week, the House Republican Caucus met and talked about how to move forward on the Bonnen issue. Though he did not explicitly say Bonnen should resign, Stucky said in his tweets that new leadership is what is needed in the House if Republicans are to successfully execute their agendas in future sessions.
“It was clear from the discussions at the Republican Caucus Retreat that the level of distrust and division within our ranks can only be healed by new leadership,” Stucky wrote.
There will be a formal discussion among Denton County commissioners Tuesday morning about the Bonnen situation during the their regularly scheduled meeting, according to the meeting agenda.