On Monday, the Chambers County Republican Party became the latest local chapter to join a growing chorus of county delegations to call for new leadership in the Texas House.

In a vote of 4-1, the county’s executive committee advanced a resolution expressing no confidence in current House Speaker Joe Straus (R—San Antonio).

Elected in 2009 in a coup against Republican Speaker Tom Craddick of Midland, Straus has headed a coalition government composed of liberal Republicans and Democrats and turned the Texas House into a killing field for conservative reforms.

In the resolution, which was read by party secretary Mayes Middleton, himself a candidate for the Texas House, the Chambers County GOP sharply condemned Straus for supporting Democrats in past election cycles, his influence in drawing district lines to benefit liberal legislators, and his penchant for making deals that thwart conservative legislation.

Over 50 other counties have passed similar, if not the same, resolutions condemning Straus and calling for new leadership. The movement started when Bexar County executive committee voted in favor of a change in leadership, other counties have been quick to join the ranks ever since.

Currently Straus faces only one opponent to re-election: Republican State Rep. Phil King of Weatherford who announced last month that he would challenge him for the gavel. Meanwhile the Republican Caucus is considering rule changes that would require a Speaker candidate to obtain majority support from the GOP delegation.

Once the change is approved, political observers expect a number of other individuals to enter the race. The election will not be decided until the 86th Texas Legislature is sworn in in January of 2019.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.

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