In a widely expected move, State Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R–Angleton) filed paperwork with the Texas Ethics Commission launching his campaign for Speaker of the Texas House.
Bonnen has for years been considered a possible successor to Speaker Joe Straus, who announced his retirement from the legislature last year. Most recently chairing the committee on Ways and Means and serving as Speaker Pro Tem, Bonnen has served in the Texas House since 1997.
In a written announcement, Bonnen said he is looking forward to meeting with members across the state in order to lead the House with “strength, resolve, and unity” in the upcoming legislative session.
The announcement comes on the heels of a reported secret meeting of around 40 Republican House members who met Sunday in Austin to rally around a speaker candidate ahead of the December 1 House Republican Caucus vote, in which the GOP nominee will presumably be decided.
New rules passed last year create a process by which House Republicans will rally around a Republican caucus speaker candidate, although Bonnen has so far not taken the Republican Party of Texas’ pledge to support the Republican candidate.
Bonnen joins a field that includes Republican State Reps. Phil King (Weatherford), Tan Parker (Flower Mound), Drew Darby (San Angelo), Travis Clardy (Nacogdoches), and Four Price (Amarillo), as well as Democrat State Rep. Eric Johnson (Dallas).
State Rep. John Zerwas (R–Richmond), who had filed for Speaker only hours after Straus’ announcement last October, dropped out of the race on Sunday.
The official vote for the next speaker will take place on January 8, when the new legislature convenes.