As Republicans on the national level look to grow Republican majorities in statehouses across the nation, they are looking to an unlikely source for assistance: former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.
The Republican State Leadership Committee describes itself as “the largest caucus of Republican state leaders in the country and the only national organization whose mission is to elect Republicans to multiple down-ballot, state-level offices.”
Which makes their announcement this week that they have added Straus to their board of directors even more puzzling.
Taking power in 2009 through the result of a Democrat-led coup against Republican Speaker Tom Craddick of Midland, Straus spent almost a decade obstructing and subverting the will of Republican primary voters and the party platform, killing efforts to protect life and gun rights and to limit government from coming to the floor of the Texas House.
During his tenure, Straus lost 18 seats in the Texas House since the 2010 tea party wave and even managed to lose seats after redistricting, despite holding a Republican majority, raising serious questions about his ability to grow a Republican majority nationwide.
After the Republican Caucus passed bylaws to elect a unified Republican candidate for speaker, Straus was forced to call it quits, leaving the post—and the legislature—after 10 years behind the gavel.
Since leaving the legislature, Straus has started his own PAC, which has largely helped fund establishment Republicans against conservative challengers.
Straus is not the only new addition to the RSLC’s board. This week, the organization also announced that Karl Rove, former RNC Chairman Reince Preibus, former Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, and former Nevada Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison would also receive seats on the board.