Texas GOP representative forgoes re-election after remarks about Asian opponents

by | Dec 3, 2019 | Politics, Texas Legislature

On Monday, Republican State Rep. Rick Miller of Fort Bend made eye-popping comments accusing his primary opponents of running solely because of their ethnic background. Miller announced on Tuesday that he will no longer seek re-election. 

“He’s a Korean,” Miller said of his opponent Jacey Jetton, the former chairman of the Fort Bend GOP, according to the Houston Chronicle. “He has decided because, because he is an Asian that my district might need an Asian to win. And that’s kind of racist in my mind. But anyway, that’s not necessary, at least not yet.”

Miller also said that another Republican primary challenger, Houston Fire Department Leonard Chan, “jumped in probably for the same reason.” 

Jetton slammed the remarks. 

“It has nothing to do with whether I’m part Korean or anything else, it’s just the fact that I’m showing up and the other communities are excited about that,” Jetton said. “I think it’s unfortunate he’s trying to make it a race thing when it’s really just being willing to communicate with anyone in the district.”

The chair of the Fort Bend GOP also condemned Miller’s remarks, calling on him to “strongly consider” dropping out.

Miller took the chair’s advice.

Fort Bend County is about one-fifth Asian, according to the Kinder Institute for Urban Research. 

Miller’s comments are the latest in a series of questionable actions and remarks made by Texas Republicans over the past year. This is creating challenges for the GOP in Texas as it grapples with its diversity problems amid the state’s changing demographics. 

Fort Bend provides a microcosm of the GOP’s diversity problem. Traditionally a Republican stronghold, the county has shifted to Democrats in the wake of a more multi-racial and diverse electorate. The 2018 midterms elections ended in a near-sweep for the Democrats at the local level and the sole Republican survivor did not face a Democratic challenger.  

Miller won re-election in 2018, but he did so by less than 5 points compared to 40 points in 2014 and 15 points in 2016. Miller represents one of the nine Republican-held districts that voted for Beto O’Rourke and is thus a prime target in the Democratic effort to flip the Texas House.  

“I’m very fearful we’ll lose this in 2020,” Jetton told the Chronicle.

 Photo: voterickmiller.com

Are you tired of Texas Republicans pushing big lies and trying to steal your vote? So are we, that’s why we’re fighting back against the right-wing lie machine. Our commitment to ethical, fact-based journalism is vital to our democracy, and we can’t do it without you. Consider donating today to help us stay in this fight.

Continue Reading

Anti-Abortion Group Sues FDA Over Abortion Pill

Anti-Abortion Group Sues FDA Over Abortion Pill

One of the key groups behind the overturning of Roe v. Wade has filed another anti-abortion lawsuit, this one in Texas. Alliance Defending Freedom sued the FDA last week to reverse federal approval of mifepristone, a medication that can terminate an early pregnancy....

Texas lawmaker proposes ‘age-appropriate’ book bill

Texas lawmaker proposes ‘age-appropriate’ book bill

There are still two months before the 88th Texas legislative session starts in early 2023. Still, Texas Republicans’ pre-filing records show banning more books in public schools and deciding what students can read in a classroom will be a top priority for the...

A Conversation With Mihaela Plesa

A Conversation With Mihaela Plesa

Despite volunteering, protesting, and voting, after former President Donald Trump was elected in 2016, first-generation Romanian-American Mihaela Plesa said something told her it wasn’t enough.  So as one does, she dropped everything to be as civically engaged as...