With the recent Republican tidal wave win in the recent state elections, Texas Republicans are now turning their attention to the election of the State Speaker of the House. Joe Straus (D-121) has served as speaker since 2009, but he has faced challenges from right wing and Tea Party elements of the GOP, who want him replaced as speaker because they feel he is not conservative enough. However, Texas House Republicans have lined up to support Straus, making his replacement unlikely.
In recent weeks, a number of high-profile Republican House Representatives have signed letters of support, including several aligned with the Tea Party. That includes Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, who enjoyed wide Tea Party support and whose district includes Keller, Southlake, Colleyville, and Grapevine. However, Capriglione signed a letter dated November 13 detailing his support for Straus. The letter, also signed by Rep. Tan Parker, Rep. Phil King, and Rep. Drew Springer, outlined the accomplishments of the Texas legislature during Straus’ tenure, and stated they all looked forward to working with him again in the next session.
Rep. Jason Villalba (Dallas) has been one of the most vocal conservative supporters of Straus’ re-election as speaker. He has been critical of special interest groups like Empower Texas who have labeled Straus a liberal and backed Rep. Scott Turner as speaker. Villalba, however, says Straus has the support of 120 of the 150 House members. “There is a group of neo-libertarians who are out to destroy the Republican Party,” he said on his Facebook page. “They are not conservatives. They are charlatans who line their pockets by hijacking the grass roots movement and who seek nothing more than the destruction of a single man. The emperor has no clothes.” Other Dallas-area House representatives voicing support for Straus include Angie Chen Button and Kenneth Sheets.
Even so, Tea Party activists have attempted to generate support for Rep. Scott Turner (Rockwall), who is challenging Straus for the speaker’s position. They have managed to get non-binding resolutions supporting Turner passed with county GOP groups in Dallas, Tarrant, and Smith counties, even though county GOP organizations usually do not take sides in contested in-party races.
The House votes in January on the speaker’s position.
Victor Medina is the editor of WhenLiberalsAttack.com. His other writing credits include The Dallas Morning News, Yahoo News, and SportsIllustrated.com. He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum. You can follow him on his blog, VictorMedina.com or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at email@example.com. Click here to receive a weekly email update from WhenLiberalsAttack.com. To be notified of future stories by Victor Medina, click the SUBSCRIBE link here or at the top of this page.