As the race for Speaker of the Texas House heats up largely behind closed doors, Republican Party of Texas Chairman Allen West is fighting back against the backroom dealing.

“Concerning reports of a fractured effort to coronate the next speaker have grown in recent days. Discussions about the next speaker should be inclusive. Any candidate who emerges from a guarded, smoke-filled room will end in embarrassment,” said West.

Instead, he says he is calling on Republican members of the House to unite and elect a speaker from the whole caucus.

His statement comes after one faction of Republican lawmakers—dubbed “Team Bonnen” after disgraced outgoing Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen—is reportedly having a secret meeting this coming Sunday, with the expectation that they will come out unified behind a single anti-reform candidate.

According to reports first published by Texas Scorecard, this meeting is by invitation only, with many in the GOP caucus being excluded.

Republican State Reps. Chris Paddie of Marshall, Trent Ashby of Lufkin, and Geanie Morrison of Victoria have officially filed for the position. State Rep. John Cyrier (R–Lockhart) also announced his candidacy, but he dropped out less than 24 hours later and endorsed Morrison.

Democrat State Reps. Senfronia Thompson of Houston, Trey Martinez Fischer of San Antonio, and Oscar Longoria of Mission have also filed.

Members of the Texas House will cast their votes for the next Speaker of the House as one of the first orders of business when the Legislature reconvenes on January 12, 2021.

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