AUSTIN (KXAN) — North Texas Republican Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, posted on his campaign Facebook account that he will not run for re-election.
“Eight years was enough for George Washington, and it certainly is for me. After much prayerful consideration and reflection, I have determined it is not the Lord’s will for me to seek reelection. Instead, I intend to dedicate more time to my family, my church, and my business,” Rep. Stickland wrote.
During his eight years in office, Stickland built a reputation as a combative member of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus faction of the Republican Party and clashed with the Texas House leadership under current Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen, R-Angelton, and former Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio.
He came close to single-handedly scuttling a major mental health proposal earlier this year in the 2019 legislative session. He consistently fought against measures he believed would enlarge government, needlessly spend tax dollars and limit family privacy.
Some of his most controversial positions include opposing bills that would require vaccines for Texas public school children and measures that would require dogs be tethered in safe and sanitary conditions.
Stickland passed exactly one bill during his time in the Texas legislature. This year he was one of the major drivers of a bill that would ban red-light cameras in the state of Texas.
Stickland was only very narrowly re-elected to office in 2018, winning less than fifty percent the vote in his North Texas district. The Texas Democratic Party has set its sights on his district again in 2020, hoping for a stronger liberal upswing reacting from Republican President Donald Trump.
“It was never my intention to grow old in office. I don’t want to turn into what we’ve been fighting and become part of the establishment. When I first considered running, I dreamt of one day leaving on my own terms, not being rejected by my neighbors after staying for too long or losing sight of the values they sent me to defend. I am thankful that I’m now blessed with the opportunity to do just that.,” wrote Stickland.
Texas Democrats issued a statement Monday morning in response to Stickland’s announcement calling Texas a “battleground state.”
“The simple facts are that Jonathan Stickland is too far to the right for Texas and represents an increasingly Democratic district,” the group wrote. “We wouldn’t be surprised if there were more retirements because Republicans know their 2020 prospects are doomed.”