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No matter what happens after the polls close today, Joe Straus still has a race on his hands. Not only is conservative Air Force veteran Matt Beebe giving moderate State Rep. Straus a hard run today in HD121, but Speaker Straus has learned he definitely has a challenge for the speakership in 2013.

Joe Straus

Reporters were lighting up the Twitersphere late this morning with news that Taxpayer Champion State Rep. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) has filed papers with the Texas Ethics Commission to challenge Mr. Straus for the speakership.

We’ll look at this more closely after the election, but a quick look at the math makes this intriguing. Mr. Hughes was among the conservatives targetted by the Straus Team, but it went nowhere, mainly because Hughes is highly regarded in his district and the recruited opponent was an unpopular superinendent whose contract wasn’t renewed. Opps.

Straus, on the other hand, faces a potentially tight race pitting his millions against a hundred or two thousand of Mr. Beebe. If Straus gets less than 60 percent, he’ll have trouble convincing House members he can hold on.

Even worse, several Straus committee chairs are drowning (or at least taking on water) under his losing weight; the races of Vicki Truitt, Rob Eissler, Chuck Hopson and Sid Miller are all in the lost/run-off/tight status.

Doesn’t exactly signal strength that Straus has a hard time protecting himself and those closest to him.

Meanwhile, the Straus Team’s shadowy challenges to staunch conservatives like James White, David Simpson, Charles Perry, Bill Zedler, Dan Flynn and others are going nowhere.

How tonight’s election returns shape up — most notably in HD121 — will undoubtedly play a big role in the speakership race of 2013.