GOP “Wolf Pack” Suggests Three New Speaker Candidates - Texas Scorecard

A working group of 20 Republican members of the Texas House has announced three members of the Texas House they would like to see as speaker in the next session, in a reported attempt to bridge the conservative and liberal wings of the Republican caucus.

The group of legislators, which according the Capitol sources go by the name “Wolf Pack,” has suggested Republican State Reps. Morgan Meyer (Dallas), Dade Phelan (Orange), and DeWayne Burns (Cleburne) as successors to retiring Texas House Speaker Joe Straus when the legislature reconvenes in January.  

Meyer, who reportedly leads the so-far-anonymous coalition, currently holds a 60 on the Fiscal Responsibility Index.

Phelan earned a 53 for his voting record, the lowest of the three, while Burns scored the highest with a 66.

Notably none of the three suggested choices has yet announced a campaign for speaker, leading many to wonder when, if ever, the candidates will officially file.

While some declared candidates, such as State Reps. Travis Clardy (R–Nacogdoches) and Drew Darby (San Angelo), are counting on support from Democrats in order to take the gavel, the “Wolf Pack” appears to be committed to working through the new caucus nomination process. New rules passed in the Texas House Republican Caucus lay out a process by which House Republicans will nominate a candidate for Speaker by which all House Republicans should unify.

Not all Republicans legislators have pledged to support the caucus choice, however. And while both Meyer and Burns have signed the Republican Party of Texas’ candidate pledge to support the unified speaker nominee, Phelan has not.

Conservatives must ask themselves which, if any, of these candidates will bring conservative reforms—which have been repeatedly killed by House leadership in the past—to the floor for a vote. Especially in light of the fact that none have been particularly keen in the past to stand up for conservative reforms in opposition to House leadership.

The Republican caucus speaker vote is scheduled to take place on December 1, while the House as a whole will vote for the next speaker when they reconvene on January 8.