In a landslide vote that sent shock waves through the political establishment, the Montgomery County Republican Party Executive Committee passed a resolution 34-11 condemning Texas House Speaker Joe Straus and calling for new leadership.
Montgomery is the latest county to join the list of over 20 county Republican parties that have passed resolutions denouncing the speaker. Anti-Straus resolutions have spread like wildfire in the last few weeks since Straus’ own Bexar County first passed a resolution.
Inspired by Bexar County’s action, several Montgomery County precinct chairs began drafting a resolution of their own. Although two separate resolutions were initially submitted, the chairs were able to consolidate their resolutions and rally behind one which they presented at the party’s August 15th Executive Committee meeting.
While the resolution was supported overwhelmingly by the precinct chairs and Republican rank and file members, it was met with opposition from party leadership and the party’s shrinking “old guard” wing. However, even opponents of the resolution were not willing to publicly defend the speaker.
Conroe Precinct Chair Jim Schulze, considered to have the most liberal voting record of any chair in Montgomery County, spoke against the resolution, but explicitly said he wasn’t defending Straus. He said only that he didn’t believe the party should call out Republican elected officials.
Proponents of the resolution made the case that Straus does not represent the will of the Republican Party, and that his defiance of the party platform and obstruction of conservative legislation merited the need for him to be replaced. Anti-Straus remarks were met with loud applause by precinct chairs and party activists in the audience.
John Wertz, one of the resolutions’ authors, believes the vote represents a seismic shift in the direction of the local GOP:
“Perhaps this was our Midway moment,” Wertz told the Texas Scorecard, “of the grassroots going toe-to-toe with the liberal establishment, and like the Americans did with the Japanese during that epic battle, we outflanked, out-maneuvered and then took away their will to fight.”
Another author of the resolution, Jon O’Der, says the landslide victory highlights the fact that Straus is becoming increasingly unpopular among a broad swath of the Republican Party:
“This is not an ‘anti-establishment’ or ‘tea party’ position. This is about leadership in the House that is ignoring the will of all Republicans. We need a speaker of the House that will work hard to advance legislation that reflects the values of the Republican Party not the values of the Democrat Party.”
Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia), Mark Keough (R-The Woodlands), and Will Metcalf (R-Montgomery), Montgomery County’s House delegation, should bear in mind their local Republican Party’s clear and unequivocal call for new leadership the next time they cast their vote for speaker.