Kel Seliger will not seek re-election

Texas State Senator Kel Seliger announced Wednesday that he would not be seeking reelection.

Seliger has been a senator since his election in 2004.

“After thoughtful consideration and with the reassurance of my family, including my new very vocal granddaughter, I have decided not to be a candidate for re-election to the Texas Senate. From my first campaign in 1989 to today, I have felt overwhelmingly proud to serve the Panhandle, South Plains, and the Permian Basin," Seliger said in a press release.

During his time in the Texas Senate, Seliger served as a member of the Health and Human Services Committee, the Veteran Affairs and Border Security Committee and the chair of the Higher Education Committee among others.

“I am no less dedicated to the fundamental principles of smaller government, local control, and real fiscal conservatism as I was when I first ran for the Texas Senate. I will continue to serve the great constituents of Senate District 31 for the remainder of my term," Seliger said.

The election for Seliger's seat will take place in 2022.

“It has been a great honor to represent the people, schools, and businesses of Senate District 31 for the past 17 years in the Texas Legislature,” Seliger stated. “The opportunity to serve as Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee and Senate Select Committee on Redistricting, as well a longtime member of the Finance and Education Committees, allowed me to be impactful in areas of great importance to me and the entire state.”

Seliger's announcement comes after some intra-party drama, as former President Donald Trump endorsed Midland oil businessman Kevin Sparks.

With a new state Senate map that takes out counties from the Panhandle and adds some in near the Permian Basin, Seliger accused his GOP colleagues of drawing the new lines to favor Sparks, a former Texas Public Policy Foundation board member.

Seliger was often a pivotal swing vote among Senate Republicans, especially as the GOP majority thinned over the past several election cycles.

Most recently, he broke from his caucus on key votes on the state Senate map and a measure to audit the 2020 election — specifically called for by Trump.

In 2018, the most recent primary election for SD 31, Seliger narrowly avoided a runoff against two Republican opponents with only 50.4 percent of the vote. Both of those former opponents, like Trump, have endorsed Sparks for 2022.

In addition to Sparks, Big Spring steel business owner Stormy Bradley also launched a campaign for SD 31 long before Seliger’s announcement.

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