After months of a rumored bid, Travis Clardy (R–Nacogdoches) has filed with the Texas Ethics Commission to run for Speaker of the House.
He joins Republican State Reps. Tan Parker (Flower Mound), Phil King (Weatherford), and John Zerwas (Richmond) along with Democrat Eric Johnson (Dallas) in the race to replace former Speaker Joe Straus. Drew Darby (R–San Angelo) is also expected to enter the race, though he has not formally announced yet.
A Straus loyalist, Clardy has been instrumental in thwarting conservative reforms since he was first elected to the House in 2012. He has maintained a failing grade on the Texans for Fiscal Responsibility Index every session he has served in the Texas House.
Because of his role in obstructing the will of the grassroots, Clardy was formally censured last November by the Cherokee County Republican Party for his failure to uphold the core principles of the Texas GOP, specifically his votes against religious liberty and the rights of the unborn.
Clardy is one of around two dozen House Republicans that have failed to sign on to a House Republican Caucus resolution that requires the Speaker be elected among the Republicans of the Texas House.
Without this commitment to elect a Speaker amongst Republicans, it is possible that Clardy will attempt to follow in the footsteps of Joe Straus by creating a coalition of Democrats and liberal Republicans in order to take the gavel.
In a straw poll conducted by Empower Texas at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in June, grassroots activists soundly rejected the options for Speaker that were announced at the time. Given his dismal record on conservative issues, it is unlikely that grassroots activists will be satisfied with Clardy as Speaker either.
Members of the Texas House will cast their votes for Speaker when the legislature reconvenes on January 8.