According to the Price’s hometown newspaper, the Amarillo Globe News, the lawmaker is “weighing his options after being encouraged by other Texas House members to replace outgoing House Speaker Joe Straus.”
But none of Price’s Republican colleagues who were interviewed in the story said they had decided to support the lawmaker. Both Republican State Reps. Ken King (Canadian) and John Smithee (Amarillo) demurred when asked if they support a potential campaign for the gavel by Price.
So who are those lawmakers calling Price and encouraging him to run? Well, they’re probably Democrats.
In the Houston Chronicle’s coverage of Straus’ decision to “retire” from the Texas Legislature, the author wrote that a Democrat legislator texted her a list of Republicans his colleagues could potentially support to succeed Straus.
“There were 12 names on the list: the nine who voted against Schaefer’s amendment, and the three who were absent,” she wrote.
The amendment referenced is one authored by State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R—Tyler), a conservative lawmaker and chairman of the Texas Freedom Caucus, that restored and strengthened Senate Bill 4, the bill to ban sanctuary cities.
Only Price and a small number of other legislators made the cut, and already some on the list have announced they won’t be seeking re-election.
But it’s not just sitting Democrat legislators signaling their openness to Price becoming Speaker of the Texas House.
On Monday Drew Landry, a Democrat running against State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R—Lubbock) announced his support for Price running for Speaker of the Texas House.
For the record, Four Price or Drew Darby would make a great House Speaker.
— Drew Landry (@LandryForWestTX) October 30, 2017
So far Price hasn’t announced an official campaign, but he hasn’t announced that he won’t be running either. Even more glaringly, Price has stayed mum on where he stands on the issue of electing the next Speaker within the Republican Caucus—maybe because he knows that he’d almost surely need Democrat votes in order to win the gavel.
Already, Price’s refusal to take a stand on the issue has spurred his primary opponent, Fritch City Manager Drew Brassfield, to highlight Price’s stance with voters. Earlier this week, Brassfield issued a robocall that went out across the Panhandle to attack Price on the issue.
“Last week the Speaker of the House decided to retire, and now the race for speaker is open and Four Price has said he’s interested,” said Brassfield in the call. “What you probably haven’t heard is that Four Price was listed in a Houston Chronicle article as one of the few candidates on a short list that the Democrats have made on who they want to be Speaker.”
“Fellow conservatives, we can’t let the Democrats chose the next Speaker, and Four Price needs to come out today and make it clear that he will allow the Republican caucus to choose the next Speaker. Democrats are backing Four Price because he votes with them more than most of his GOP colleagues,” he added.
A full copy of Brassfield’s call can be found on his Facebook page.
Republican lawmakers are expected to vote soon on whether to amend caucus rules to elect the Speaker internally. The Republican primary will be held on March 6, 2018.