The campaign for Speaker of the Texas House officially has a new entrant ahead of the Labor Day weekend, as State Rep. Drew Darby (R–San Angelo) officially filed for the position.
In a statement, Darby says he plans on visiting with “every House member” in the coming weeks before the legislature returns in January.
But Capitol sources have suggested for months that Darby has been campaigning behind-the-scenes for the speakership, rallying Democrats as well as liberal and moderate Republicans with a message that the House needs a speaker who will “stand up” to Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
Darby has repeatedly earned failing grades on the Fiscal Responsibility Index, most recently receiving a 40%. During the last legislative session alone, Darby voted to raid the state’s “rainy day fund”, against efforts to strengthen property tax reform, and when a bill to limit state spending to population and inflation came to the floor, Darby voted with every Democrat to kill the bill in the final days of the special session.
Darby appears to be attempting to create a coalition of Democrats and liberal Republicans to take the speakership. Although new House Republican Caucus rules were passed so that Republican members could unite around a candidate for speaker instead of allowing the Democrats to dictate their leader, Darby has refused to pledge to support the Republican caucus process.
With his announcement, Darby is the fifth Republican to join the race. Members of the Texas House will cast their votes when the legislature returns on January 8.