Despite a broad consensus that he’s too moderate and holding up important conservative legislation, conservatives in the Texas House failed to unseat Speaker Joe Straus in both 2010 and 2012. Since then, one Straus ally after another has fallen to more conservative challengers in the primaries. Will this session finally be the one where Straus is replaced?
Well, conservative are certainly going to try to oust Straus from the speaker’s chair. “Scott Turner, the freshman state representative challenging Joe Straus for House speaker, affirmed on Tuesday that he will insist on a floor vote on Jan. 13, the first day of session, come what may.”
Michael Quinn Sullivan makes the case for ousting Straus. (One would think that if Sullivan was as powerful as liberal reporters make him out to be, Straus would have been out of a job in 2011. But for all Sullivan’s considerable influence, Straus has managed to survive repeated attempts to kick him oust him.)
And Texas Tea Party groups are threatening to hold Reps accountable if they vote for Straus as Speaker again. Indeed, the North Texas Tea Party said as much on their website. Unfortunately, they decided to do so in an overheated and poorly-formatted screed interspersed with ALL CAPITAL LETTERS FOR EMPHASIS. Guys, you’re not posting on a BBS in 1984. Things like this make it entirely too easy for the opposition (in this case Straus-backing RINOs and their media enablers) to dismiss you out of hand.
However, as much as it pains me to report it, the more I read the tea leaves, the more I think Straus survives the challenge this time as well.
Conservatives were less than thrilled when Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, who owes his seat in large measure to running against Straus and beating Straus ally Vicki Truitt in 2012, announced he was supporting Straus for speaker.
Then Sarah Rumpf wrote that still more Republicans announced they were backing Straus:
Joining Capriglione are Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound), Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton), Phil King (R-Weatherford), Myra Crownover (R-Lake Dallas), James Frank (R-Wichita Falls), and Drew Springer (R-Muenster), who emailed the release to Breitbart Texas with a short message that it was “from leading North Texas conservatives on our position on the 84th session.” Straus was first elected Speaker in 2009, largely on the votes of the Democrats and moderate Republicans in the House. Since first taking up the Speaker’s gavel, Straus has faced criticism from various conservative groups and grassroots activists who view him as more of a moderate.
Now comes news that Straus theoretically has enough votes in the bag to stay speaker:
The list of House Republicans who have publicly backed Straus in the past week include Trent Ashby of Lukfin, Cecil Bell of Magnolia, Giovanni Capriglione of Southlake, Travis Clardy of Nacogdoches, Myra Crownover of Denton, Tony Dale of Cedar Park, Marsha Farney of Georgetown, James Frank of Wichita Falls, Larry Gonzales of Round Rock, Jason Isaac of Dripping Springs, Kyle Kacal of Pearland, Phil King of Weatherford, Tim Kleinschmidt of Lexington, J.M. Lozano of Kingsville, Doug Miller of New Braunfels, Morrison, John Otto of Dayton, Chris Paddie of Marshall, Tan Parker of Flower Mound, John Raney of Bryan, Ron Simmons of Carrollton, Drew Springer of Muenster and Paul Workman of Austin. Three newly elected Republicans who will join the Legislature in January — Dade Phelan of Beaumont, Gary VanDeaver of Clarksville and Rick Galindo of San Antonio — have also pledged support to Straus.
Et tu, Tony Dale? It’s disappointing that all three Williamson County Representatives (Dale, Larry Gonzalez and Marsha Farney) are backing Straus.
At this point, it’s beginning to look like conservatives will need to knock off Straus in the 2016 Republican primary to get rid of him…