Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin has announced he will step down and run for a Texas House seat.
Editor's note: This story contains explicit language.
McLaughlin has served as mayor of the small South Texas city since 2014 and was reelected three times. He led the community through the May 2022 shooting at Robb Elementary School, where a local teenager killed 19 students and two teachers.
McLaughlin, a Republican, said he is running in District 80. In a statement on July 14, McLaughlin said entering the race "was a no-brainer for me," saying that "out of touch members of the establishment class has been ignoring the concerns of everyday Texans."
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He cited property tax relief, school choice, land ownership by noncitizens, and border control as important issues that legislators should have addressed already.
The seat is currently held by Tracy King, a moderate Democrat who announced his retirement earlier this month. King unsuccessfully tried to broker a compromise with Republicans this legislative session to raise the age to purchase certain semi-automatic weapons. Pleasanton Mayor Clint Powell has also announced his intention to run for the seat.
McLaughlin became known internationally in the wake of the Robb Elementary shooting for his outspoken support of the community and criticism of state leaders. He accused the Department of Public Safety of leaking records related to the shooting to make local police look bad. He also criticized a report commissioned by state officials that concluded that a Uvalde Police Department officer had an opportunity to shoot the gunman before he entered the school. A later legislative report found no evidence to support that report's claim.
McLaughlin also expressed his displeasure with Beto O'Rourke, who as the Democratic candidate for governor, interrupted state officials at a news conference the day after the shooting. McLaughlin called O'Rourke a "sick son of a b****."
The Uvalde City Council on Tuesday scheduled a special election in November to elect a new mayor, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
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