With campaign season kicking off, House Speaker Dade Phelan has earned his first challenger in the Republican primary.

Shilo Platts, a petrochemical technical services account manager, and Jefferson County GOP Precinct Chair, is slated to officially launch his campaign this Saturday in Beaumont. 

“Southeast Texans not only deserve to have a choice in their State Representative, something we haven’t had here in District 21 for years, but the voters deserve a true Texan who is not for sale, and will not be purchased by the woke, liberal special interest groups seeking to control Texas,” said Platts. “We can do better, and we will do better in delivering true, uncompromised, Texas-first legislative priorities through the House and onto Governor Abbott’s desk.”

First elected to the legislature in 2014, Phelan has gone unchallenged in his recent elections. 

Recent polling, however, has shown that Phelan’s popularity has taken a dive during the most recent legislative session. A poll of Republican voters in Phelan’s legislative district commissioned by the Defend Texas Liberty PAC shows that 48 percent would vote for a conservative challenger to the speaker, with only 24 percent saying they would stick with Phelan. Twenty-nine percent said they were unsure.

This is a massive shift from polling taken in January at the start of the legislative session, when 40 percent said they would support Phelan and 34 percent said they would vote for a conservative challenger. Twenty-six percent said they were unsure

The drop in popularity comes at the conclusion of a legislative session where Phelan has antagonized conservative voters by appointing Democrats to lead powerful House committees while failing to pass legislation on a variety of key issues such as banning Chinese ownership of Texas land, universal school choice, and border security.

The Texas Republican primary will be held March 5, 2024.

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

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