After Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan’s “apparent debilitating intoxication” on the House floor, a supermajority of Orange County Republican Party precinct chairs say they are ready to censure the speaker.

With 14 out of 20 precinct chairs in the largest voting county in Phelan’s district signing a letter in support of the censure—and three more who didn’t sign the letter but are reportedly willing to vote in support—the two-thirds majority needed would have been met, thereby resulting in a censure.

Although the motion to vote was made and seconded at a recent meeting of the county party, Orange County Republican Chairman Leo LaBauve would not allow a vote to occur.

The Orange County GOP then released a statement expressing their disappointment, saying they followed the “correct RPT rules.”

Their reasons for censuring were outlined in a resolution and specified Phelan’s violations of Republican Party of Texas priorities and principles.

First on the list was the violation of a Republican legislative priority to not allow Democrat committee chairs. Phelan appointed several Democrat committee chairs for the 88th Legislative Session, including:

Oscar Longoria – Business and Industry
Abel Herrero – Corrections
Victoria Neave Criado – County Affairs
Joseph Moody – Criminal Jurisprudence
Harold V. Dutton – Juvenile Justice and Family Issues
Tracy King – Natural Resources
R. D. Bobby Guerra – Resolutions Calendars
Terry Canales – Transportation
Senfronia Thompson – Select Committee of Youth Health and Safety

Other violations listed in the resolution were:

  • Allowing House Bill 20 to die in violation of the RPT legislative priority to secure the border and protect Texans. The bill would have established a Texas Border Protection Unit to arrest and return illegal aliens to Mexico.
  • Appointing committee members that are known to oppose school choice in violation of RPT Legislative priority to protect Parental Rights and Educational Freedom.
  • Repeatedly violating Texas GOP core principle #6 — “Self-sufficient families, founded on the traditional marriage of a man and woman.” Phelan allowed passage of House Resolution 155, which recognized Texas LGBTQ Chambers of Commerce Advocacy Day, and House Resolution 45, which honored the plaintiffs who sued in federal court to overturn the prohibition of same-sex marriage.

Candidates have already begun announcing campaigns against Phelan, including former Orange County Republican Chairman David Covey.

Covey told Texas Scorecard the attempt to censure Phelan “shows [he] lost the support of a supermajority of Republicans in his county when he turned from conservative values and teamed up with Democrats to fight Republicans.”

“HD 21 is made up of conservative America First Republicans, and they don’t relate to Phelan’s liberal California mentality,” Covey said.

Neither Speaker Phelan nor Chairman LaBauve responded to Texas Scorecard’s request for comment.

The Texas Republican primary will be held March 5, 2024.

Valerie Muñoz

Valerie Muñoz is a native South Texan and student at Texas A&M University, where she studies journalism. She is passionate about delivering clear and comprehensive news to Texans.