Eight-year Texas State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R–Bedford) announced Monday he is not seeking re-election in a statement he posted on Facebook. The announcement comes in the wake of a crisis of confidence revolving around the conservative official’s handling of gun rights issues.
In what some saw as an un-selfaware post on his campaign’s Facebook page, Stickland compared himself to George Washington, writing:
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.
The full Facebook post can be read here.
Appropriately, a thorough homage to the Bedford lawmaker was written by Empower Texans, a powerful lobbying group that prizes Obama-era tea party-wave Republican troublemakers as crown jewels. The author of the post is Brandon Waltens, who was Chief of Staff for Briscoe Cain until recently, another comfortable Tea Party tidal-wave beneficiary.
Unlike Stickland, Briscoe Cain is the descendant of Texas Declaration of Independence signatories, and has yet to foul up in the eyes of constituents sufficiently to lose their faith.
The opposite is true for Stickland, as BLP reported.
“Recently, I have seen and been made aware of some of the most concerning behavior I have witnessed in my time as a legislator. I am saddened by the acts of a few individuals who have stolen the conversation about legislation that I deeply care about,” Stickland said in a Facebook video reply filmed in the wake of a gun rights protest on the lawn of Texas House speaker.
Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) killed Stickland’s ‘Constitutional Carry’ bill after protesters fliered the door of Bonnen’s home.
Former speaker Joe Straus publicly admits Bonnen is his protege, who thought it was okay to compare Texas pro-Second Amendment protesters (& his employers) to ISIS, as we reported previously.
“I could no longer watch as legislators and their families are incessantly harassed by fanatical gun-rights activists who think laws preventing criminals from carrying a gun should be repealed,” said Bonnen in a written comment at the time, according to The Statesman.
“Their goal is to eradicate sensible gun policies by allowing anyone to carry a gun without a license and proper training — making it impossible for law enforcement to distinguish between law-abiding gun owners and criminals,” Bonnen continued, making it clear he is an enemy of the 2nd Amendment.
“The fear and terror used to push this agenda has made it clear this is bad public policy.” The speaker even went so far as to lie maliciously, alleging that gun rights protesters endangered his wife and two sons. These statements were later totally discredited and shown to be later turned out to be completely fabricated.
“The bigger point is they can attack me all they want, but don’t go to my residence when you know there’s zero opportunity of my being there … don’t go where my two sons and my wife are and I am not.”
It was later revealed in a Fort-Worth Star Telegram report that Bonnen’s wife, Kim, was not in the premises when protesters were there. All of this background is just to establish what Stickland did when his own legislation promised to his constituents was slaughtered mercilessly.
As we reported at the time:
Unfortunately, Stickland lacked the courage to stand for his supporters who pushed for his ‘Constitutional Carry’ legislation. Stickland followed the lead of the House Speaker in conjunction with the National Rifle Association and the Texas State Rifle Association to violate his oath to the Constitution and denigrate patriotic individuals for grassroots activism with misrepresentations.
“There is a right way and a wrong way to influence the legislative process … There is never a time or place to physically threaten an elected official with violence. It is never okay or helpful to your cause to curse out their staff. It’s never okay to target their homes or personal businesses when you know they are not in town,” Stickland said.
Stickland’s patriotic Facebook following smelled a rat — the social media impact was instantaneous and negative.
“If this lawmaker had a shred of integrity, he would not allow the actions of a few affect his responsibility to do the right thing for the masses of gun owners in the state who did not show up at his home and did not send threatening messages,” FOX Business political analyst Jan Morgan wrote.
“He is coward lacking in integrity and looking for any excuse to shirk his responsibility to the people,” Morgan added. “He needs a good opponent in the next primary.”
It’s very frequent in politics and considered a proper etiquette to step down when personal or public disagreements, though not necessarily scandal, have the potential to make a Republican seat unsafe ( vulnerable) during elections.
Stickland’s claim to fame as a conservative grassroots champion is lionized by Empower Texans, much the same approach most will expect in an obituary or a funeral sermon.
“A taxpayer champion since his first session in the state legislature in 2013, Stickland has been known by Texans across the state as an outspoken and authentic firebrand, regularly opposing establishment forces by refusing to ‘go along to get along,” Waltens writes.
And while events later in his tenure as a state representative may have discredited Stickland on immediate policy fails, Empower Texans is accurate when it states:
That attitude often won little friends inside the Capitol—where those close to House leadership often punished him by denying him credit for passing legislation—but endeared him to grassroots Texans as a reliable voice for taxpayers in the state Capitol.
“During his tenure, Stickland earned the highest career rating of any lawmaker on the Fiscal Responsibility Index for his voting record on fiscal and limited government issues,” Empower Texans writes.
Big League Politics, hat tip to Stickland: Just prior to his departure, Strickland planted one more squarely on the jaw of the left. He passed legislation that the governor just signed into law reversing the red light cameras’ deadly assault on Fourth Amendment privacy rights & due process.
Also, naysayers are warned by the rotund warrior not to get too comfortable. Stickland says he’s not going anywhere, but feels he’ll be more influential from back outside the fish bowl, than swimming in it, though every single lawmaker who is leaving or retiring always says the same type of thing.
“Being able to contribute to the conservative movement without the shackles of elected office is very exciting, and ultimately I have become convinced, more impactful,” Stickland told Texas Scorecard. “This won’t be the last you’ll see of me; sorry to disappoint the establishment forces!”
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