The challenger to House Speaker Dade Phelan in the upcoming runoff election just gained the endorsement of one of his former opponents, leading Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to call on Phelan to terminate his campaign.

Alicia Davis, a Jasper County activist, received 10.5 percent of the vote on election night last week in the three-way race for House District 21—the seat currently occupied by Phelan.

David Covey, the former Orange County GOP chairman, received first place with 46.3 percent of the vote while Phelan is entering the runoff election behind with 43.2 percent support. 

Because no candidate received a majority of the vote, a runoff election is slated for May 28. 

In a Facebook post over the weekend, Davis said she was glad to see Republican voters overwhelmingly approve a proposition supporting property tax elimination—a core issue of her campaign—and that, going forward, she feels that it is in voters’ best interest to support Covey.

“Phelan has made it clear that he has no interest in protecting our private property or eliminating property tax— neither do those who support him. I’m going to continue our battle like I said I would y’all and help David Covey #PhirePhelan because together, we will #EliminatePropertyTax,” wrote Davis.

Covey said he is grateful to have Davis’ support heading into the runoff.

“Her dedication to conservative principles is clear, and she knows that I will always fight for the people of Southeast Texas, not Austin bureaucrats,” said Covey.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has been a vocal critic of Phelan, proclaimed that Davis’ endorsement “seals off any pathway to victory for Dade Phelan.”

“57% of the District already voted against him. Dade should recognize the obvious and do the right thing by announcing he is terminating his campaign and stopping what is going to be an embarrassing defeat,” said Patrick.

Phelan did not respond to Patrick’s call for him to drop out of the race. 

The Texas election code states that candidates who wish to withdraw from the runoff elections have until three days following the official canvassing of the results to do so. The deadline for canvassing this election is set for Sunday, March 17. If the final canvas takes place on that date, it means Phelan—and any other candidates in runoff elections—have until Wednesday, March 20 at the latest to withdraw.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens