The Liberty County Republican Party has censured State House Speaker Dade Phelan, citing his many failures to fulfill Republican Party of Texas legislative priorities.

The resolution highlights multiple instances in which Phelan disregarded the Republican Party of Texas legislative priorities and principles. Most notably, they mention Phelan’s provision of multiple committee chairmanships to Democrats, saying, “the consequence of Phelan’s appointments thereby also places Speaker Phelan in violation of the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth core principles of the RPT Platform.”

The resolution also mentions one instance where Phelan appointed Democrat State Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso to the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, allowing critical pro-life legislation to die in committee.

“Speaker Phelan appointed Democrat State Representative Joseph Moody to chair the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee and assigned HB 2709, ‘The Abolish Abortion in Texas Act,’ which fulfilled Republican Party of Texas Legislative Priority Number Six (No. 6) ‘Abolish Abortion in Texas,’ to the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee chaired by Representative Moody, thereby ensuring it would die in committee and never receive a hearing,” reads the resolution.

Additionally, the censure resolution condemns Phelan for allowing an important border security measure— House Bill 20—to die. Although Phelan had said the legislation was a priority, he upheld a point of order from a Democrat representative, letting it die on the house floor without a vote. HB 20 would have created a state-controlled Border Protection Unit to arrest, apprehend, or detain illegal aliens crossing the Texas-Mexico border.

“Texas is a red state. It is not too much to ask that Republican elected officials actually govern according to republican principles and values,” wrote Liberty County GOP Chairman Wes Thomas. “This censure of Speaker Phelan is simply us using the tools available to us to do our part in holding one of those elected officials responsible for their actions. And he won’t be the last.”

The Republican Party of Orange County and the Ellis County GOP have also censured Phelan, citing similar grievances.

If the resolution is concurred by the Republican Party of Texas, it would prevent the party from spending funds on Phelan’s re-election effort. Candidates have already begun announcing campaigns against Phelan in the Republican Primary, including former Orange County GOP Chairman David Covey.

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

Phelan has not responded to Texas Scorecard’s request for comment.

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.