At an Austin press conference Wednesday afternoon, Republican State Rep. Dade Phelan of Beaumont told reporters he had the votes necessary to become the next Speaker of the Texas House.
“The race is over,” declared Phelan at a Capitol press conference where he announced he had the support of a supermajority within the Republican Caucus and a number of Democrats in his campaign for speaker.
The announcement comes following an election in which Texas voters continued their more than a quarter-century-long streak of shutting Democrats out of statewide office and elected Republican majorities in both chambers of the Texas Legislature.
In the Texas House, Republicans retained their current margins, though not without a little shuffling of the chairs. Pro-abortion Republican State Rep. Sarah Davis was defeated on election night, handing the Democrats a win; that victory was short-lived, however, as Republicans took back House District 132 and re-elected State Rep. Mike Schofield.
Such an outcome favored Phelan, whose faction of the split Republican caucus contained more members from the more marginal seats thought to be potentially at risk of falling to Democrat hands.
A political staffer-turned-politician, Phelan has represented the southeast Texas-based House District 21 in the Texas House since 2014. A top lieutenant of disgraced Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Phelan previously chaired the powerful State Affairs Committee in the Texas House.
He has made no public statements of policy goals since announcing his campaign for speaker.
Phelan released the following list of supporters: