As part of our presence at last week’s Republican Party of Texas Convention in San Antonio, The Texas Scorecard asked delegates to participate in our straw poll, in which we asked a series of questions about Texas politics in order to gauge grassroots opinion.
When asking Texas Republicans how they feel about the current lineup of candidates for Speaker of the Texas House, most respondents said they supported “none of the above.”
Who do you support for Speaker of the House?
|None of the Above||51.5%|
Of the declared candidates, State Rep. Phil King (R–Weatherford) came in first, followed by Tan Parker (R–Flower Mound). John Zerwas of Richmond came in last place, with less than ten percent of the vote.
The results indicate that Republicans believe the ideal next speaker is not in the current field of candidates. All three candidates earned failing grades on the Fiscal Responsibility Index and, as of yet, no conservative standout has stepped up.
Of course, lawmakers have until January to elect the new speaker and more candidates are expected to make bids of their own before then. Last year, the House Republican Caucus changed its bylaws to create a process to nominate a unified speaker candidate in caucus.
Shortly after the change was made, incumbent Speaker Joe Straus decided to retire, with many attributing his departure to a recognition he would not be re-elected under the new process.
Democrats are working behind the scenes, however, to attempt to find a coalition candidate–elected by Democrats and a minority of Republicans–in order to kill conservative legislation in much the same way Straus did during his term.
While there are a number of legislators within the House Republican Caucus who could serve as an effective, conservative Speaker, the true fight is to elect someone who will enforce the rules equally and allow the body to move.
On most conservative issues, taxpayers will win as long as the bill made it to the floor, and an end to the rampant obstruction and obfuscation employed by the Straus regime would be sufficient for a number of political victories.
Those unhappy with the current field of candidates for Speaker should demand legislators provide a viable conservative option, lest the Texas House fall into another long reign of liberal obstructionist leadership.