Grassroots activists are expressing concern over lawmakers telling them the Texas House would be stuck with a Democrat speaker should the incumbent choose to resign. The House Rules clearly state the decision is up to the speaker.
House Speaker Dennis Bonnen chose Democrat Joe Moody of El Paso to serve as his speaker pro tem during the 86th Legislative Session in 2019. The House Rules state he has the power to appoint a Republican to the position, rather than Moody, even in the event Bonnen chooses to resign his post.
The only scenario in which Moody would assume the role as speaker is if Bonnen refused to appoint a Republican successor prior to his resignation. Empower Texans counsel Tony McDonald referred to the relevant House rule on Twitter, specifically Rule 1, Section 10:
McDonald’s statement was in response to Empower Texans CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan who correctly stated the decision was solely in the hands of Bonnen.
Sullivan reminded his followers that Bonnen chose a Democrat as his right-hand man, unlike his predecessor Joe Straus, who had appointed Bonnen to the post. The Republican Party of Texas censured Straus after his resignation for repeatedly undermining his own party’s legislative priorities at the behest of House Democrats.