In the runoff election to replace retiring Texas House Speaker Joe Straus in House District 121 in San Antonio, Straus is making his support for his handpicked candidate known, officially endorsing Steve Allison in the race.
In a statement, Straus implored his supporters to go to the polls for Allison to continue his legacy:
I am grateful for the voters who have supported me through the years, and now we need you to vote for Steve Allison. Steve is the one candidate in this race who has proved himself ready to serve in the Texas House. Steve is a man of strong character and sound judgment, and I have no doubt that he will be an effective voice for our community.
The announcement comes as no surprise to voters. Matt Beebe, the conservative candidate in the race, challenged Straus in 2012 and 2014, coming up short after Straus and the Austin establishment spent millions of dollars in his campaign.
Straus’ popularity with Republicans statewide has declined considerably throughout his tenure as Speaker. In February, Straus became the first lawmaker ever to be formally censured by the Republican Party of Texas for his failure to uphold the principles of the Republican Party.
Indeed, Beebe’s first-place finish in the March primary election is a rebuke of Straus in his own district, leading Allison to reportedly poll voters recently as to whether an eventual Straus endorsement would help or hurt his campaign.
Beebe responded, noting the divide between Republican voters and Allison:
Whether it’s his views on the Second Amendment, his unwillingness to enable parents to have meaningful options for their children’s education, or his refusal to pledge support for the Republican caucus choice for House Speaker, voters are increasingly realizing Steve Allison is out of touch with their values. Speaker Straus’ vote is not one I was counting on to win the runoff, but I am encouraged by the excitement of new supporters connecting with us daily throughout the district that are building on the momentum of our first place finish in March, and will deliver a victory for traditional conservative Texas values in May.
In addition to being endorsed by Straus, Allison also carries support from liberal organizations such as Associated Republicans of Texas, a pro-Straus organization, and Texas Alliance for Life, a faux pro-life group that opposed the ban on dismemberment abortion last session. In contrast, Beebe touts endorsements from Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Texas Right to Life, Young Conservatives of Texas, and other grassroots conservative organizations.
Voters will head to the polls for the primary runoff election on May 22, with early voting beginning May 14.