State Rep. Rick Miller ends reelection bid after racial comments about political rivals

Republican State Rep. Rick Miller has lost the endorsement of Governor Greg Abbott and announced his choice not to run for reelection after fierce backlash related to comments made in an interview with the Houston Chronicle.

In the interview, Miller said that two of his primary Republican opponents, former Fort Bend GOP Chairman Jacey Jetton and Houston Fire Department analyst Leonard Chan, were challenging him in 2020 because they’re Asian in his diverse district, which boasts a significant Asian population.

“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," Miller told the newspaper of Jetton.

Miller had similar comments to make about Chan.

"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," he said to the Chronicle.

Rick Miller has represented a Houston district in Fort Bend County for the past six years. Fort Bend is the most diverse county in the country with a great representation of Asian voters. 

Republicans in Fort Bend felt his comments showed he is out of touch with their values. 

Miller released the following statement making the announcement on Tuesday night: 

"During a recent interview with the Houston Chronicle, I made some statements that were insensitive and inexcusable. 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. As a veteran of the U.S. Navy and elected official, I have dedicated my life to public service and improving the lives of our country and constituents. 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 therefore I have decided not to seek reelection."