A returning Democrat state legislator wants to play kingmaker in the selection of the next Speaker of the Texas House.
Trey Martinez Fischer, who served in the House from 2000-2017, made a failed bid for the Texas Senate, and will rejoin the Texas House in 2019, sent an email to a group of Democrats and liberal Republicans urging potential candidates for Speaker to make their “intentions known very soon.”
“I would like to start a conversation with those of you in the Republican leadership, Members who have filed for the office of Speaker, and those who are rumored to be interested in running for Speaker,” Fischer pleaded in the email.
“I am increasingly concerned about both the pace and the substance (or lack thereof) of leadership talks. I am also concerned about the number of hopefuls who remain on the sidelines and how that has impacted the sum and substance of the conversations about the next Session.”
Fischer and other Democrat lawmakers are hoping to play a large role in determining the next Speaker, despite new bylaws passed by the House Republican Caucus in which members will nominate a unified Republican candidate for the position.
Almost two dozen House Republicans, however, have failed to sign onto a pledge to support the caucus’ choice for Speaker, leaving open the possibility that a minority of them could align with liberal Democrats in selecting the next Speaker of the House, and all but assuring that the legislative priorities of conservatives would be dead-on-arrival in the chamber.
Such a “coalition” arrangement previously led to the election of disgraced and soon-to-be-former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.
“Let me be clear, I won’t rush a decision to select a Speaker until I have had sufficient time to have meaningful and, in some cases, multiple discussions with each Speaker candidate,” Fischer implored. “To those of you thinking about rushing the process in the few weeks after the general election I ask you to reconsider that strategy,”
The email was sent to Republican State Reps. Trent Ashby, Dennis Bonnen, Giovanni Capriglione, Travis Clardy, Drew Darby, Sarah Davis, Charlie Geren, Todd Hunter, Phil King, John Kuempel, Lyle Larson, Four Price, Geanie Morrison, Chris Paddie Tan Parker, and John Zerwas.
Clardy, Darby, Parker, King, and Zerwas have all already announced their campaigns for the position.
The email was also sent to Democrat State Reps. Cesar Blanco, Nicole Collier, Celia Israel, Mary González, Cesar Blanco, and others.
The Republican Caucus is currently scheduled to hold its vote for Speaker in December, while the official floor vote will take place when the legislature reconvenes on January 8.