After announcing his campaign for speaker of the Texas House on Tuesday, State Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R–Angleton) has formally committed to voting for the eventual Republican speaker nominated by the House Republican caucus.
When Bonnen made his original announcement, just days after a reported secret meeting of around 40 Republican House members who met Sunday in Austin to rally around a candidate ahead of the December 1 caucus vote, the Republican Party of Texas’ website reflected that Bonnen had not yet signed the party’s pledge to vote for the Republican nominee.
Other candidates, such as State Reps. Drew Darby (R–San Angelo) and Travis Clardy (R–Nacogdoches) have eschewed the pledge, instead seeking to build a coalition with Democrats in order to bypass the caucus nomination process. With candidates Phil King (R–Weatherford) and Tan Parker (R–Flower Mound), and Four Price (R–Amarillo) having signed the pledge, Bonnen’s refusal to commit publicly to backing the nominee had led to speculation as to his intentions in the process.
In a statement on his Facebook page Tuesday evening, however, Bonnen expressed his support for the process:
Nearly a year ago, I supported the Republican Caucus process of selecting a House Speaker. I voted in favor of this process and remain committed to supporting its nominee. My desire, which I believe I share with the vast majority of my colleagues, is that this process come to a conclusion with a House ready to do the people’s business with strength, resolve, and unity in the 86th Legislative Session.
As of Wednesday, the RPT’s website now reflects Bonnen’s commitment to the caucus process.
According to the RPT, although the party provides a simple pledge for Republican candidates to fill out indicating their support, “Use of the form is simply an easy way to indicate public commitment to voting for the choice of the Republican Caucus. It is the public commitment, not the use of the form, that is the priority.”
The Republican caucus will meet on December 1 to nominate their unified Republican candidate. The official vote for the next speaker will take place on January 8, when the new legislature convenes.