With a special election on the calendar in November, candidates for Texas House District 2 were asked to weigh in on whether they support keeping Dade Phelan as Speaker of the House.
Phelan was first elected by members to lead the House in January of 2021. Since then, he has been criticized by conservatives for appointing Democrats to leadership positions and obstructing conservative priorities.
Last weekend, the Republican Party of Texas took the extraordinary step of calling on him to resign and be replaced, following the failed impeachment attempt against Paxton that was supported by Phelan. The move has put a spotlight on candidates and their position towards the speaker.
But while the primary election will not take place until March of next year, a special election for House District 2—vacated by expelled State Rep. Bryan Slaton earlier this year—is the first opportunity for voters to see how Phelan’s disapproval by the party will factor into elections.
Texas Scorecard reached out to all six declared candidates to ask if they supported Phelan in light of the Texas GOP’s resolution calling on him to resign. Three responded.
I tried to give Speaker Phelan the benefit of the doubt throughout this campaign, despite my disappointment in the House’s failure to achieve Republican Party Legislative Priorities during his tenure. But his actions surrounding the impeachment demonstrate that he is motivated by power, not principles. The people of this district are fed up with his leadership, and I’m with them. I agree with the SREC that he should resign as Speaker.
When asked whether I would support Dade Phelan for reelection or accept campaign contributions from him in our Van Zandt Co Candidate Forum, I not only said No, but “Big Texas H E double hockey sticks NO!”
If you look at my candidate filings, you will see that I also did some very interesting legality gymnastics in order to put forward 2 resolutions against Dade Phelan in the Hunt Co GOP! I did a certificate of withdrawal, according to TX election code 161.005 to bring about business as a PC, and brought forth a resolution to support the Orange Co censure of Dade Phelan, and then the resolution for request of resignation. Both passed with a wide majority. Then I paid another $750 to refile for my candidacy, before the deadline. This is how passionate I am about returning the favor to our House Speaker for disenfranchising our district this legislative session, after he promised our former Representative that he would make sure he didn’t get anything done this year, on account that he dared call for his replacement and make a motion to ban Democrat chairs! BTW- I was there during opening session and watched these proceedings! It’s not about Bryan, but about our Voice in HD2 that was stolen this year!
Dade Phelan doesn’t seem to care about Constitutional process (Paxton impeachment) or accountability for his conduct on the House Floor (drunk gaveling)! I’m the candidate in this race who showed up for the 88th legislative session and cares about my constituents’ constitutional rights being protected!
I wish the resignation of Speaker Phelan would help us heal from the whole Paxton Affair, but I fear it will only make things worse and further divide our party. I want to bring us together and don’t want to be part of that. My support of the Speaker is still conditioned on whether or not he’ll get serious about having Republican chairmanships. The House will decide if he gets to stay in his own chair.
The people in HD2 could care less about games played by people in Austin. They need tax relief and want improved security everywhere.
Jill Dutton, Heath Hyde, and Kristen Washington (the lone Democrat in the race) did not respond.
The election will take place on Tuesday, November 7—the same date as the election to vote on constitutional amendments passed during this year’s regular legislative session.
The winner must receive a majority vote, making a runoff likely.