Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday endorsed state Rep. Dustin Burrows for reelection, giving the Lubbock lawmaker a vote of confidence as he deals with accusations that he and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen schemed to target fellow Republicans in the 2020 primaries.
"I am proud to endorse Representative Dustin Burrows for re-election, and I am grateful for his strong leadership in the Texas House," Abbott said in a statement. "Representative Burrows is a servant leader who puts the needs of his constituents first, and I look forward to continuing our important work together as we create an even brighter future for the state of Texas."
Abbott's endorsement comes days after Burrows resigned as chairman of the House Republican Caucus amid the ongoing fallout from the scandal with Bonnen, which the Texas Rangers are now investigating. Conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan has alleged that during a June meeting with Bonnen, the speaker offered to give Sullivan's organization, Empower Texans, media credentials if it worked to unseat 10 House Republicans — a group that Burrows detailed after Bonnen left the room.
Bonnen initially pushed back on the allegations but has since copped to saying "terrible things" in the meeting, which Sullivan secretly recorded and has been playing for select Republicans. Burrows has not publicly commented on the drama.
In his first public remarks on the scandal last week, Abbott expressed gratitude that the Rangers were looking into it and said it is premature to say whether Bonnen should resign. But aside from the scandal, Abbott has good reason to back Burrows: As chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Burrows helped shepherd Abbott's top priority during the most recent session: property tax reform.
"As the author of House Bill 2, Representative Burrows championed the sweeping property tax reforms that Texas taxpayers demanded," Abbott said in the statement.
Burrows, who announced he was running for reelection Wednesday, is up for a fourth term in 2020. He has drawn a primary challenger, David Speer, in his solidly Republican district, as well as a Democratic opponent, Addison Perry-Franks.