Under mounting pressure, Rep. Bryan Slaton resigns ahead of the Texas House eviction vote

Austin, Texas – Rep. Bryan Slaton resigned from the Texas House on Monday after an investigative committee found he engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 19-year-old woman on his staff, providing her with enough alcohol before their meeting to make her feel dizzy and had twice as much vision.

Pressure had been mounting on Slaton for his resignation since Saturday, when the House General Investigative Committee released a 16-page report finding he had engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with an aide. The committee of three Republicans and two Democrats recommended that Slaton be the first state representative expelled from the body since 1927.

Texas Right to Life, a staunchly anti-abortion group that was a key backer of Slaton’s political campaigns, withdrew its support on Monday, saying it was a “Christian organization” that kept his staff, board members, grant recipients and political supporters to a high moral standard.

“In light of recent reports and findings from the Texas House General Investigating Committee, the Texas Right to Life PAC has decided to formally withdraw our endorsement of Rep. Bryan Slaton and is praying for a biblical response for all involved,” he said. Kimberlyn Schwartz, a spokeswoman for the group, wrote in a statement.

Slaton, 45 and married, is among the most socially conservative MPs in the chamber and was one of the loudest voices in this session for cracking down on drag shows and vilifying drag performers as “groomers” who want to sexualize children.

Calls for the Royse City Republican to resign began mounting soon after the committee report was provided to House members at Saturday’s meeting. The report also found that he tried to intimidate others who knew about the incident into not talking about it.

Rep. Andrew Murr, a Junction Republican who leads the committee, said he plans to have the House vote Tuesday on Slaton’s expulsion.

The Republican parties in Hunt and Hopkins counties, two of the three counties Slaton represents, have called for his resignation.

The Texas House Freedom Caucus, a group that includes some of the more socially conservative House lawmakers who are usually politically aligned with Slaton, also called for his resignation on Sunday.

“The aberrant behavior described in the report requires clear and strong action,” the caucus said in a statement. “He should step down. If he doesn’t, we will vote to expel him on Tuesday.”

Later that night, 36 members of the 62-member Republican State Executive Committee, party activists who help set the party’s agenda, also called for his resignation, calling his conduct “wrong and unacceptable.” They were joined by party vice president Dana Myers and secretary Vergel Cruz. Three other committee members who could not be reached on Sunday evening added their names to the resignation request on Monday morning.

That action was contrary to the approach taken by party chairman Matt Rinaldi, who said he “reserved further comment until the House has an opportunity to deliberate and vote on the committee’s recommendations.”

At least three lawmakers had already called for Slaton’s resignation before the report came out: Reps. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands and Ana-Maria Ramos, D-Richardson. Cain and Toth are members of the Freedom Caucus.

Also on Monday, conservative youth in Texas joined calls for Slaton to resign and urged the House to follow the committee’s recommendation without hesitation if he didn’t.

“Texas’ young conservatives fully support his ouster and will mark the vote in our legislative assessments,” the group wrote in a statement.

If a vacancy occurs, Governor Greg Abbott may call a special election for a new state representative for House District 2, but that election could not occur before the end of the legislative session on Memorial Day. This means that the constituents of Slaton would be without representation for the final days of the session.

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