Jonathan Stickland

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Jonathan Stickland
Member of the Texas House of Representatives
from the 92nd district
In office
January 8, 2013 – January 12, 2021
Preceded byTodd Smith
Succeeded byJeff Cason
Personal details
Jonathan Spence Stickland

(1983-09-04) September 4, 1983 (age 40)
Plano, Texas, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Krissy Stickland
(m. 2006)
Residence(s)Bedford, Tarrant County
Alma materTarrant County College
Parkland College

Jonathan Spence Stickland (born September 4, 1983) is an American politician from Texas. A member of the Republican Party, he was a member of the Texas House of Representatives from District 92 for four terms, from 2013 to 2021. The district includes a portion of Tarrant County in suburban Fort Worth.[1] He did not seek re-election in 2020.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Online comments, 2001–2008[edit]

In 2015, the political newsletter Quorum Report published online posts on a fantasy sports forum made by Stickland in 2001 and 2008 given to them by his Republican primary opponent, Scott Fisher. In a 2008 post, Strickland condoned marital rape (in response to another user's request for advice on sex, Strickland wrote: "Rape is non existent in marriage, take what you want my friend!"); in other posts, Strickland referred to his marijuana use (in 2001, Strickland sought a "smoking buddy"; in 2002 he asked for advice on how to grow marijuana; in 2008, he asked for advice on how to pass an employer's drug test). The comments became an issue during Strickland's 2016 campaign for reelection to the state House. Strickland apologized for his remarks; he said in college "I wasted much of life, said and did things I wish I hadn't" and that "by the Grace of God my past sins are forgiven."[3][4][5]

Elections to the state House[edit]

When the incumbent Republican Representative Todd Smith did not seek reelection in 2012, Stickland defeated Roger Fisher, 6,332 votes (60.2 percent) to 4,190 (39.8 percent) in the Republican primary election held on May 29, 2012.[6] In the general election on November 6, 2012, in conjunction with the U.S. presidential race, Stickland faced no Democratic opponent and defeated the Libertarian Party nominee, Sean D. Fatzinger of Fort Worth, 37,084 votes (80.7 percent) to 8,884 (19.3 percent).[7]

In the Republican primary election held on March 4, 2014, Stickland defeated challenger Andy Cargile, a retired principal and school district trustee, earning 7,612 votes (65 percent) to Cargile's 4,102 votes (35 percent).[8]

In the Republican primary on March 1, 2016, Stickland faced opposition in his bid for a third term from Scott Weston Fisher, the senior pastor since 2000 of the Metroplex Chapel in Euless, Texas. Fisher carried the backing of former Governor Rick Perry, who in 2008 appointed Fisher to the Texas Youth Commission.[9] Stickland defeated Fisher in the primary election with 58% of the vote.[10]

Stickland retained his state House seat in the November 2018 general election, by a narrow margin.[11] With 29,755 votes (49.82 percent), he defeated his Democratic opponent, Steve Riddell, who polled 28,327 votes (47.43 percent); Libertarian Party nominee Eric P. Espinoza, received 1,644 votes (2.75 percent).[12]

Tenure in the state House[edit]


For all of his four terms in the state House, Stickland was a member of the County Affairs Committee.[1] He was also a member of the Special Purpose Districts Committee in the 83rd (2013) and 84th sessions (2015) sessions. He was a member of the Business and Industry Committee in the 85th session (2017) and a member of the Land and Resource Management Committee in the 86th session.[1]

Legislation and positions[edit]

An anti-abortion legislator, Stickland supported in 2013 the ban on abortion after twenty weeks of gestation; the measure passed the House, 96–49. He co-sponsored companion legislation to increase medical and licensing requirements of abortion providers,[13] a law that the opponents claim could shut down many abortion clinics. These issues instigated a filibuster in the Texas State Senate by Wendy R. Davis of Fort Worth.[14] The Texas Right to Life Committee rated Stickland 78 percent favorable,[15] presenting him with a "Former Fetus" wall plaque which was briefly displayed on the wall outside Stickland's office at the Capitol building.[16]

Stickland voted against the legislation to establish a taxpayer-funded breakfast program for public schools; the measure passed the House, 73–58. He co-sponsored legislation to provide marshals for school security as a separate law-enforcement entity. He voted for the extension of the franchise tax exemption to certain businesses, which passed the House 117–24. He voted against the adoption of the biennial 2013 state budget. He voted to require testing for narcotics of those individuals receiving unemployment compensation. Stickland voted against a bill relating to unlawful employment practices regarding discrimination in payment of compensation, which nevertheless passed the House, 78–61.[13]

Stickland co-sponsored the measure to forbid the state from engaging in the enforcement of federal regulations of firearms. He also co-sponsored legislation to permit college and university officials to carry concealed weapons. He voted to reduce the time required to obtain a concealed-carry permit in Texas. He backed the redistricting bills for the state House and Senate and the United States House of Representatives. Stickland voted for term limits for certain state officials. He voted for legislation to forbid one individual from turning in multiple ballots.[13]

In 2017, Stickland offered an unsuccessful amendment to prohibit state aid to the abatement of feral hogs. In retaliation for Stickland's amendment, his Republican colleague, Drew Springer, Jr., of Muenster, backed by Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio, obtained passage of another amendment to defund $900,000 from the Texas Department of Transportation earmarked for Stickland's hometown of Bedford.[17]

Strickland was one of the most prominent Republican state House members who designated themselves the "Freedom Caucus" (a right-wing grouping aligned with the Tea Party movement).[18][19] The group was founded at the beginning of the 2017 session.[19] In May 2017, along with fellow caucus members, he engaged in an effort to block legislative priorities of House speaker Joe Straus through parliamentary obstruction tactics; the group used a legislative procedure called "chubbing" to kill more than 100 bills on the House calendar, in what became known as the "Mother's Day Massacre."[18][20][21] Strickland resigned from the Freedom Caucus in 2019.[19]

Stickland in 2017 authored HB375 which would allow Texans who were legally able to own firearms to openly carry handguns without a permit from the state of Texas.[22]

Stickland is one of only twelve House Republicans organized through the House Freedom Caucus, which he claims is the true representative of most conservative Republicans statewide. He has emerged as a critic of Speaker Joe Straus and an ally in the House of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, the presiding officer of the Texas State Senate. In 2017, Patrick and Straus quarreled over the bathroom bill sponsored by State Senator Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham, which would require persons to use the public rest room corresponding with their genitalia at birth. Straus agreed to a more moderate bill because of what he called concerns about economic boycotts of Texas by business and athletic groups who view the bathroom legislation as infringing on the rights of transgender persons. The Patrick-Straus split created an impasse on the legislation as the regular session wound down.[23] Stickland said, "I absolutely think that there is a fight going on for the heart and soul of the Republican Party."[23]

In 2019, Stickland authored a bill to ban red light cameras in Texas. The bill passed the legislature and was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott.[24] This was the first bill introduced by Strickland to become law.[11]

Ratings and endorsements[edit]

Following his first session in 2015, Texas Monthly rated Strickland as Texas's worst legislator;[25] at the end of the 2019 legislative session, when Texas Monthly published its perennial Best and Worst Legislators list, it gave Stickland the "first-ever Cockroach Award" for "a lawmaker who accomplishes nothing but always manages to show up in the worst possible way." The reasons given for the newly created award included a "needless" Twitter fight between Stickland and a prominent vaccine researcher, in which Stickland called vaccines "sorcery" before saying he was only objecting to government-mandated vaccines, and Stickland's verbal sparring with other representatives who resurrected Governor Greg Abbott's signature $100 million plan for high school mental health services after Stickland used a procedural maneuver to kill it.[26]

The NRA Political Victory Fund graded Stickland an "A" rating and endorsed him in 2014.[27][15] In 2017, Texans Uniting for Reform & Freedom scored Stickland 104 percent.[28] In 2017, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility scored him at 100 percent and rated him as one of the top 10 Best Legislators of 2017.[29][30]

In 2019, civil rights group Equality Texas gave Stickland a 0 percent rating. Environmental groups gave Stickland low ratings; the Texas League of Conservation Voters gave Stickland a 14 percent rating in 2015, while Environment Texas gave Stickland a 10 percent rating in 2019.[15]

The marijuana legalization advocacy group National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) gave Stickland a 58 percent rating in 2019. The Texas Association of Realtors gave Stickland a 50 percent rating in 2013.[15]

Defend Texas Liberty PAC[edit]

After serving in the legislature, Stickland worked as president of the Defend Texas Liberty PAC, a far-right group that worked to purge more moderate figures from the Texas Republican Party by intervening in primary elections.[31] The group spent more than $15 million from 2020 to 2023 to oppose Republican Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan's allies in the 2022 legislative elections and support Don Huffines, who unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Republican Greg Abbott in the primary election for Texas governor.[32] The group was also a major donor to Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton.[33] Almost all of the group's money were donated by Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks, both oil billionaires from West Texas.[31]

Meeting with neo-Nazi and departure from PAC[edit]

In October 2023, Stickland met with Nick Fuentes, a well-known white supremacist and Adolf Hitler admirer, for almost seven hours.[31][34] This prompted calls by some Republicans, including Phelan, for Republican politicians in Texas to return donations they had received from the PAC or donate them to charity.[35][33] Patrick initially said he would keep the $3 million his campaign had received from Defend Texas Liberty PAC, but later reversed course and use the money to buy Israel bonds.[33] Nine days after the meeting, Stickland was replaced as president of the PAC.[36][37][38]

Personal life[edit]

Stickland and his wife, Krissy, met in church. The couple has two daughters.[39]


  1. ^ a b c "Texas Legislators: Past & Present: Jonathan Stickland". Texas Legislative Reference Library. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  2. ^ Tinsley, Anna (June 24, 2019). "Texas Rep. Jonathan Stickland won't seek re-election: 'It is not the Lord's will.'". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  3. ^ Patrick Svitek (January 1, 2016). "Stickland Race Heats Up Over Pot, Rape Comments". Texas Tribune.
  4. ^ "Texas lawmaker Jonathan Stickland's web posts condone rape, seek weed 'smoking buddy'". Dallas Morning News. December 20, 2015. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016.
  5. ^ "Report: Texas Republican Rep. Jonathan Stickland sought advice online on how to grow 'da green'". San Antonio Express-News. December 29, 2015. Archived from the original on December 30, 2015. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  6. ^ "Republican primary election returns, May 29, 2012 (House District 92)". Texas Secretary of State. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  7. ^ "General election returns, November 6, 2012 (House District 92)". Texas Secretary of State. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  8. ^ "Republican primary election returns, March 4, 2014 (House District 92)". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  9. ^ "Scott W. Fisher (Senior Pastor)". Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  10. ^ Tinsley, Anna (March 1, 2016). "Tarrant County legislative incumbents win primary election". Star-Telegram. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Cassandra Pollock, Jonathan Stickland says he won’t run for reelection to the Texas House, Texas Tribune (June 24, 2019).
  12. ^ "Election Results: 2018 General Election". Texas Secretary of State.
  13. ^ a b c "Jonathan Stickland's Voting Records". Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  14. ^ M. Fernandez (June 25, 2013). "Filibuster in Texas Senate Tries to Halt Abortion Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  15. ^ a b c d "Jonathan Stickland's Ratings and Endorsements". Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  16. ^ Patrick Svitek and Edgar Walters (March 11, 2015). ""Former Fetus" Signs Cause Stir at Capitol". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  17. ^ "Texas House Refuses to Vote on Swanson Amendment: "No Men in Women's Bathrooms!"". April 7, 2016. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  18. ^ a b Walsh, Sean (May 12, 2017). "With Friday's House calendar defeated, 'Mother's Day Massacre' complete". Austin-American Statesman.
  19. ^ a b c Cassandra Pollock, Texas state Rep. Jonathan Stickland resigns from hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus, Texas Tribune (May 6, 2019).
  20. ^ Grissom, Brandi (May 19, 2017). "What happens when a small band of angry legislators takes control of the Texas House? We're about to learn". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  21. ^ Parker, Kolten (May 2017). "This Week: In 'Mother's Day Massacre,' Tea Party Caucus Derails 100+ Bills". Texas Observer. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  22. ^ Pollock, Cassandra (March 28, 2017). "House panel hears bills for open carry without a permit". Texas Tribune. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  23. ^ a b Peggy Fikac, "Battle raging for control of GOP: Those linked to business interests are vying with Texas tea partiers," San Antonio Express-News, May 28, 2017, pp. 1, A19.
  24. ^ Fedschun, Travis. Red light cameras banned in Texas, FOX News, June 2, 2019.
  25. ^ "THE WORST: Representative Jonathan Stickland". Archived from the original on September 5, 2015.
  26. ^ "2019: The Best and Worst Legislators". Texas Monthly. June 18, 2019. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  27. ^ "NRAPVF | Grades | Texas". NRA-PVF. Archived from the original on November 4, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  28. ^ "2017 Session Reportcard" (PDF). Texans Uniting for Reform & Freedom. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  29. ^ "Fiscal Responsibility Index". Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  30. ^ Staff (May 28, 2017). "Best and Worst Legislators of 2017". Empower Texans. Archived from the original on November 15, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  31. ^ a b c Robert Downen, Defend Texas Liberty promised big primary spending. Then its leader met with an Adolf Hitler fan., Texas Tribune (January 17, 2023).
  32. ^ "Texas far-right conservatives spent millions to oust House GOP leaders, to little avail". Texas Tribune. March 4, 2022.
  33. ^ a b c "Dan Patrick to use $3 million from Defend Texas Liberty to buy Israeli bonds". Texas Tribune. October 23, 2023.
  34. ^ "Influential Texas activist Jonathan Stickland hosted white supremacist Nick Fuentes at office near Fort Worth". Texas Tribune. October 8, 2023.
  35. ^ "First They Came for Those Who Met With Nazis". Texas Monthly. October 12, 2023.
  36. ^ "Defend Texas Liberty PAC names new president after leader met with white supremacist Nick Fuentes". Texas Tribune. October 17, 2023.
  37. ^ "President of right-wing PAC steps down after meeting with Hitler supporter". The Houston Chronicle. October 18, 2023.
  38. ^ "New leadership at right-wing Republican PAC after leader welcomes white supremacist". Texas Standard. October 20, 2023.
  39. ^ "Jonathan Stickland's Biography". Retrieved March 18, 2014.

External links[edit]

Texas House of Representatives
Preceded by Texas State Representative from
District 92 (part of Tarrant County)

Succeeded by