Four-term state Rep. Rick Miller (R-Sugar Land) is the latest Republican to decide not to seek reelection. Miller announced he will not seek his party’s nomination on Tuesday, Dec. 3.
Miller’s announcement came after a Houston Chronicle interview where he said his primary opponents were “running because they were Asian.”
Miller’s fellow Republicans were quick to issue condemnations. Gov. Abbott rescinded his endorsement. Fort Bend County GOP Chairwoman Linda Howell called for Miller to drop out.
In his announcement, Miller described his comments as “insensitive and inexcusable.”
“I do not want to be a distraction for my party or my constituents,” he said. “Therefore I have decided not to seek re-election.”
Miller’s reelection plans had already been the subject of intense speculation earlier this year. Political watchers genuinely did not know if Miller would run again because he squeaked out a victory in 2018 by less than five points.
The lackluster victory left Miller vulnerable and his post-session fundraising was suffering. There had also been months of intense rumors that Miller was a candidate for Department of Family Protective Services Commissioner.
Ultimately, Miller was passed over for the DFPS job and decided to seek reelection for House District 26.
Miller joins the GOP Texodus in the State House and has become the sixth Republican state representative to decide to either retire or not seek reelection. Miller is also the 11th member of the Texas Legislature to step down since the end of the session.
The Sugar Land Republican leaves behind a mixed legacy. While child welfare was Miller’s main issue in the last few sessions, he had also voted against increasing special education funding.
Miller also voted against a free breakfast program for students and against permitting education funds to be used for child care for students at risk of dropping out due to pregnancy.
He was also endorsed by anti-vax group Texans for Vaccine Choice. Miller has already filed to be on the ballot for the March Republican primary. However, he has until December 10 to withdraw to remove his name.
Prior to his decision not to seek reelection, Miller was already facing stiff competition for his seat. He had drawn three primary opponents — including the two referenced by his “Asian” comments, former Fort Bend GOP chairman Jacey Jetton and Houston Fire Department analyst Leonard Chan.
Another four Democrats have filed to be on their party’s March primary ballot. So far perennial candidate L. Sarah DeMerchant will face off against development consultant Rish Oberoi, physician Suleman Lalani, and State Board of Education member Lawrence Allen Jr.