“I just think we’ve got to get through 2020, guarantee if we try and hold this majority — which, with all due respect to Trump, who I love, by the way — he’s killing us in urban-suburban districts,” Bonnen said in June, according to the recording made public by the activist, Michael Quinn Sullivan. (Bonnen has denied any wrongdoing and claimed vindication that he did not act untoward in the meeting in light of the tape’s release.)
Democrats, who haven’t controlled the state House since 2002, already made inroads there in 2018, picking up 12 seats. Kier Murray, a longtime Texas Democratic strategist, told NBC News that Bonnen’s meeting with the activist put on display the “discord” that’s existed between more conservative Republicans and the “business establishment types” for some time.
“They’ve largely been able to keep those problems inside the tent over the last few years, but they’re not able to do it anymore,” Murray said. “And I think it’s somewhat reflective of the stress they feel generally about the state and losing their grip on it, that they’re starting to fight among themselves.”