On Tuesday, amid a firestorm of controversy, GOP state Rep. Rick Miller announced he would not be seeking re-election to the Texas House of Representatives.
Miller, who represents a district covering parts of Houston and Sugar Land, and who previously attracted national attention in 2015 after his gay son spoke out against an anti-LGBTQ bill he had introduced, caused outrage this week after a racist tirade in an interview with the Houston Chronicle about two fellow Republicans, Leonard Chan and Jacey Jetton, who are running against him in the primary.
“He’s a Korean,” Miller said about Jetton, the chair of the Fort Bend GOP and a seventh-generation Texan. “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.”
He added that Chan is probably running “for the same reason … I don’t know, I never met the guy. I have no idea who he is. He has not been around Republican channels at all, but he’s an Asian.”
Shortly after Miller’s remarks were publicized, Gov. Greg Abbott rescinded his endorsement of Miller for re-election, making his position untenable.
“In trying to make a point about the campaign I used a poor choice of words that are not indicative of my character or heart,” Miller said in a statement announcing his retirement. “My comments were not made with malice nor do they reflect who I am or who I strive to be. I want to publicly apologize to Jacey, Leonard and my constituents and friends who have put their trust in me through the years. I do not want to be a distraction for my party or my constituents, and therefore I have decided not to seek re-election.”
The newly open 26th House District may become a target for Texas Democrats. Its population is heavily suburbanized and growing more diverse, and in 2018 Republicans carried it by less than five points.