State Rep. Mike Lang, a Granbury Republican who chairs the Texas House Freedom Caucus, announced Wednesday evening he will not seek reelection to the lower chamber in 2020 and will instead run to become a Hood County commissioner.
"The fight starts at home and we need experienced servant leaders," Lang said in a statement. "I believe we can make Hood County a shining example of what local control truly embodies. Though in a different arena, I am still called to fight. This fight has been long overlooked by conservatives, and it starts at the local level."
Lang said he plans to run for the commissioner position being vacated by Bruce White, who announced recently he is not running for reelection.
Lang was first elected in 2016 to represent House District 60, a solid Republican seat that includes Hood, Eastland and Coleman counties, among others. In August, Lang announced his reelection bid to the lower chamber and was endorsed by Gov. Greg Abbott. Another Republican, Granbury attorney Kellye SoRelle, was already running for the seat.
At the beginning of the 2019 legislative session, Lang was elected to chair the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus, a coalition of members that typically pushed priorities championed by the further right faction of the GOP.
The caucus, founded at the start of the 2017 legislative session, often clashed with House leadership. The group's tactics softened during the 2019 legislative session as a new House speaker assumed the gavel, which drew criticism from some hardline conservative activists who had worked closely with the caucus in 2017.
In his statement Wednesday, Lang chalked up his decision to leave the Legislature to a need for "unity, understanding, and leadership at the local level."
"Leading by example is the only way we will win the war against the Democrats," Lang said. "The front lines are not in DC or Austin; it’s in our backyard."