Two-term Republican State Rep. Mike Lang recently announced his bid to seek a third term, quickly drawing a major endorsement and an opponent.
A hardline conservative backed by Empower Texans and elected earlier this as chair of the Texas Freedom Caucus, Lang said the 2020 elections will be more important than ever for the GOP and the state.
"As you know, socialist liberals are more unhinged than ever before. They’re mad and they’re motivated," said Lang, who turns 57 years old Thursday. "After liberal Democrats poured millions of dollars into Texas elections from California last year, they are mobilizing again with the goal of turning the Texas House blue."
A 30-year law enforcement officer before winning in 2016 his first bid for the District 60 seat, Lang graduated from Texas Christian University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. His wife, Katie, is the Hood County clerk, and they reside in Granbury. Lang replaced retired longtime state representative Jim Keffer.
On Monday, Lang announced the endorsement of Gov. Greg Abbott, saying he was "honored" to receive the governor's support.
"I am proud to endorse Representative Mike Lang for re-election, and I am grateful for his strong and effective leadership in the Texas House," Abbott said in a statement released by Lang. "As Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and a member of the House Republican Caucus Policy Committee, Representative Mike Lang played an important role in passing sweeping property tax and school finance reform this session, and worked hard to reduce the burden of Robin Hood on taxpayers. Additionally, thanks to his law enforcement background, Representative Lang led efforts to secure Texas’ southern border. Representative Lang embodies what it means to be a Texan by putting the needs of his constituents first, and I look forward to continuing our important work together to bring even more prosperity to the Lone Star State.”
Texas House District 60 covers eight counties – Brown, Callahan, Coleman, Eastland, Hood, Palo Pinto, Shackleford and Stephens. The district has about 174,000 people and some 65,000 households.
In the 2016 Republican party primary, Lang defeated Kevin Downing for the open seat, taking 54 percent of the vote. However, Palo Pinto County went to Downing, who won 53 percent of the county vote.
Two years later, in 2018, Lang won his second House term following a hotly contested battle against challengers Jim Largent and Gregory Risse. Lang captured 58 percent of the district's ballots, and this time won Palo Pinto County. Lang has not had a Democratic opponent.
Lang called on conservatives in the district to show "strength."
"We need to stand together as Republicans and tell the Democrats that we don't want their failed policies," he stated. "You can bet the deep-pocketed Austin lobbyists and local Democrats are already out strong to find me an opponent, but we are relying on grassroots support from conservatives like you."
Not long after Lang announced his re-election bid, he drew a March primary opponent in Republican Kellye SoRelle, a Granbury attorney employed at the Hyde Law Firm.
Married 16 years to Jeremy SoRelle, they have four children and live in Hood County. From 2011 through 2017, she was an assistant district attorney in Cameron County. Raised in the Texas Panhandle, Kellye SoRelle graduated from Lubbock High School and graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law. In 2006 she became licensed as an attorney in Texas.
She said she "hopes to give a voice to all voters in Texas House District 60." SoRelle said she "believes in small centralized government and believes that the voters deserve a voice over special interests with money."