GOP lawmaker accuses opponents of being 'kind of racist' because they're Asian

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Texas state Rep. Rick Miller claimed his primary opponents are only running because they are Asians.

UPDATE, 12/3, 6:55 p.m.: The Texas Tribune reported late Tuesday afternoon that Texas state Rep. Rick Miller will no longer seek reelection. Miller wrote in a statement to the Tribune, "During a recent interview with the Houston Chronicle I made some statements that were insensitive and inexcusable. ... I do not want to be a distraction for my party or my constituents, and therefore I have decided not to seek re-election."

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A Texas lawmaker accused his primary opponents of mounting challenges against him purely because they are Asians. Then he accused them of being racists.

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Republican Rick Miller, who has represented the 26th District in the Texas House of Representatives since 2013, narrowly won reelection in 2018. Among the Republicans challenging him for renomination next year are former Fort Bend GOP Chair Jacey Jetton and Houston Fire Department analyst Leonard Chan.

In an interview with Hearst Newspapers, Miller accused the two of running only because they are racist Asians.

Of Jetton, Miller said, "He's a Korean. 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."

Chan, he said, "jumped in probably for the same reason," noting that he does not know Chan but knows "he's an Asian."

Both Jetton and Chan told Hearst that Miller's racial assessment was wrong and cited it as a reason he needs replacing.

In a followup interview Monday, Miller conceded to the same reporter that he has no idea of their motivations. "People should be voting for the right candidate or the candidate most qualified to win the election, and that's my key point. I don't know why they're running. If that's why they're running, then good," he said.

The comments come as the Texas Republican Party is struggling with a lack of diversity and the news that U.S. Reps. Bill Flores and Will Hurd, both Republicans from Texas, will not seek reelection next year.

Last week, the state party accidentally emailed a secret strategic roadmap to their Democratic opponents. Among the revelations in the document was a plan to highlight its few diverse candidates to counter the "narrative driven by Democrats" about the lack of GOP diversity. The Texas Democratic Party's executive director, Manny Garcia, termed this strategy "fake diversity" in a statement at the time.

Miller's campaign website notes that he supports "education founded in traditional American values, history and exceptionalism" and backs "Texas sovereignty."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.