Election

Charged with Assaulting Police During Jan. 6 Capitol Riot, Mark Middleton's Running for Texas House

North Texas' Mark Middleton is running for state House.
Courtesy Justice Department
North Texas' Mark Middleton is running for state House.
On Jan. 6, Mark Middleton showed up at the U.S. Capitol, where he and his wife allegedly assaulted law enforcement. In April, the pair were arrested on multiple federal charges related to the insurrection.

Now, Middleton, who's from Cooke County on the Oklahoma border, has announced he’s running for the Texas House.

Middleton is challenging Jacksboro Republican state Rep. David Spiller for Texas House District 68. After redistricting this year, HD 68 meanders from Cooke and Montague counties along the Oklahoma border all the way down to Lampasas County, roughly 87 miles northwest of Austin.

Spiller did not return the Observer's request for comment.

On Jan. 6, supporters of then-President Donald Trump traveled to the U.S. Capitol to attend the so-called “Stop the Steal” rally. But the day’s events soon turned violent as a crowd attempted to stop the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Congress members were forced into hiding as their offices were ransacked.

Court documents state that on that day, Middleton and his wife assaulted law enforcement. He yelled “fuck you!” as officers instructed the crowd to “get back.” Middleton also grappled with police for more than 30 seconds, at one point grabbing an officer’s hand over the barricade and appearing to pull him forward.

In a video posted to social media, Middleton said he and his wife, Jalise, had been “pepper sprayed, clubbed and teargassed” before they had to withdraw from the “front lines.”

“No more fooling around!” he said, according to court documents. “Jalise and I gotta go back to the hotel and try to recoup and change, get dry clothes on. Make America great again! Freedom!”

"Texas needs true patriots in the House." – Mark Middleton

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Middleton isn’t the only one at the Capitol on Jan. 6 who's entering the political ring. The Guardian noted that several others are now running as Republicans in local and national races.

In an emailed statement, Texas Democratic Party spokesperson Angelica Luna Kaufman said Middleton is part of an “alarming rise in radicalism” among the GOP, adding that he’s “nothing more than a domestic terrorist.”

“His attempt to run for office in Texas after such blatant criminal activity, signals a dangerous and disturbing trend among Republicans, like Gov. Abbott, who have encouraged this kind of behavior,” she said. “Instead of denouncing such atrocities, they have instead brought it to the forefront of their party in the hopes of gaining political points.”

The Observer reached out to request an interview with Middleton, who seemed reluctant to talk. He offered few answers, so we’re posting the entirety of the conversation:

“Hello, this is Mark.”

“Hey Mark, this is Simone Carter and I’m a reporter for the Dallas Observer. Just giving you a call today to see if I could ask a couple of questions about your campaign.”

“Uh, no, thank you.”

“OK — "

“You’re welcome to follow me on the campaign trail, but other than that, no thank you.”

“Can I ask why not?”

“Um — ” [woman’s voice in background] “ — biased media.”

“Well, I mean, it would help then to talk with me so I can get your point across.”

“Well — ” [woman’s voice in background] “— you can do that on the campaign trail. Uhm, [sighs], the media has not proven themselves worthy of trust, so I’m not going to comment.”

“OK, well, could I ask at least why you wanted to run in the first place?”

“Uh, because Texas needs true patriots in the House.”

“Got it. And uh, why do you think you’re the best candidate for the position?”

“Uh, because that it is what I am.”

“OK. Um, finally, do you think that you know, the charges lodged against you guys could hurt your chances?”

“[Sighs.] No comment.”

“OK. Um, and so, could I ask who you are supporting for governor? I see on your page that you guys have a photo with [Republican gubernatorial candidate] Chad Prather?”

“[Overlapping] No — no comment on that.”

“OK, well uh, do you want to add anything else that you think that readers should know about you?”

“Nope. They can go to my website and check me out.”

On Middleton’s website, he notes that he and his wife live on a small family farm in southwest Cooke County. The couple got married when they were 19 and had three children and two grandchildren, with another grandchild coming soon. Middleton states that he has two business degrees plus a masters of theology.

In terms of his policies, Middleton has taken several strong stances. For one, he believes that Texas needs to be protected from an “invasion” at the border. He also appears to support Texas independence; his website includes a picture of him with Texas Nationalist Movement President Daniel Miller.

“To the extent the Union can be saved we should work to that end,” Middleton writes on his website. “However, it is past time Texans start seriously exploring our exit from the Union.”

He’s a major proponent of gun rights and wants a total ban on abortion, which he calls the “murder of unborn children.”

Middleton also condemns critical race theory in public schools and institutions, an academic framework that educators statewide say isn’t being taught in K-12 grades.

He goes on to say that private schools and homeschools should remain free from government influence, adding: “Parents must have full access (in person and live stream) to the classroom and administration without being deemed ‘domestic terrorists.’”

Katherine Chaumont, an FBI Dallas spokesperson, said 32 people have been arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 riots across the division, which covers much of the state’s top half. As of Nov. 9, the Justice Department counted around 675 defendants in nearly 50 states.