With the legislative session now underway, the Republican Party of Texas is taking their fight to prevent Democrat lawmakers from being placed in powerful leadership positions to a new level, airing a radio ad in House Speaker Dade Phelan’s district that encourages his constituents to urge him to only appoint Republicans as committee chairs.

“Democrats tried to turn Texas blue. But Texas voters told them no. We voted Republican all the way down the ticket,” begins the 60-second spot released on Wednesday. “But House Speaker Dade Phelan thinks Democrats should still run the show. That’s why he’s planning to put Democrats in charge of nearly half the committees in the Texas House.”

The radio spot accuses Phelan of “teaming up with Democrats” to kill Republican priorities.

In fact, banning Democrat chairs is itself one of the eight legislative priorities, as selected by the thousands of delegates to the party’s biennial convention last year. Additionally, 81 percent of Republican voters in Texas say they support a ban on Democrat chairs.

But House Speaker Dade Phelan (R–Beaumont) has been a staunch advocate for putting Democrats in charge, with nearly 40 percent of House committees chaired by Democrats last session. Despite that, Phelan was re-elected last week by every Democrat in the chamber and all but three Republicans.

When some Republican lawmakers attempted to change the rules of the House to prevent the minority party from chairing committees, Phelan blocked the vote from happening in a heavily criticized parliamentary ruling.

Committee chair appointments are made solely by the speaker of the House. It is expected Phelan will announce those appointments within the next few weeks. Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi says the ruling makes it clear that Phelan alone has the power to determine whether Democrats are put in powerful leadership positions.

As of publication, Phelan’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the radio ad.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Managing 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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