UPDATE: The resolution was tabled in order to ensure the entire Executive Committee is up to date on all the information available due to the controversial nature of the situation, according to Cherokee County GOP Chairwoman Blair.
An East Texas Republican lawmaker considering a run for Texas House Speaker could be the next to be censured by his local party after threatening conservative activists with a lawsuit for speaking out about his record.
Informed that he could be subjected to a censure resolution for failing to uphold the party’s principles during the 85th Texas Legislature, State Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches) threatened legal action against the Cherokee County Republican Party Executive Committee and party chairwoman Tammy Blair if they proceeded with the motion to formally condemn him.
Previously, Blair told Texas Scorecard that the executive committee was working on a censure resolution against Clardy and that she would not stop the committee from bringing it up when it is ready for a vote.
Undeterred, Blair says that she and the Cherokee County GOP now intend to move forward on the issue in spite of the threat and Clardy’s requests that she block the measure.
“Last week, Travis [Clardy] asked me to take it off the agenda. I told him I don’t actually have authority to do that,” said Blair. “Then he asked me to table it and I told him no. Again, I can’t table an item that hasn’t been presented.”
Nonetheless, Blair says Clardy persisted and asked that the measure at least be delayed and not brought up at the next meeting.
“I queried the precinct chair who added it to the agenda, and the precinct chair said no,” she told Clardy. “Sorry, but it stays on the agenda.”
According to Blair, the Cherokee County GOP will vote on the resolution tonight.
“I plan to allow a vote on every item on the agenda,” Blair stated. “This is a basic building block of a republican form of government. There are rules in place and procedures to follow. No chair has authority to block agenda items from elected representatives of the party.”
“That may be how it’s done in Austin, but that’s corruption and it won’t happen here,” Blair continued.
Cherokee County Republicans are no strangers to the Republican Party of Texas’ Rule 44 censure process. The resolution in regards to Clardy will be the third of its kind in the county. The party passed two censure resolutions earlier this year, against Cherokee County Commissioner Byron Underwood and now-retiring Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.
Blair says that none of these censure resolutions are personal.
“The Cherokee County GOP watches what they do and how they vote. That information is readily available to voters after each session. It’s not personal. It’s about accountability,” she said.
If passed, a censure of Clardy could have an even bigger impact given Straus’ announcement.
One day after Straus announced his retirement from the Texas House last week, Clardy told the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel that he was interested in running for Speaker.
“I’ve had a number of colleagues call me and talk to me about serving as the next Speaker,” said Clardy. “I would consider it. I have a lot of respect for the position, and we need that filled by a person who has a real vision for what the future of Texas should be.”
If the censure from Clardy’s local Republican Party and his reaction to it is any indication of his “vision for what the future of Texas should be,” it is clear that the Texas House would continue to be run by yet another heavy-handed liberal insider. A quick look at Clardy’s voting record confirms that would likely be the case.
But Clardy might not even get the chance to run. Already, local businessman Danny Ward has declared he will challenge Clardy for the House District 11 seat in the March 2018 Republican primary, and rumors are that others could enter the race.
Texas Scorecard will update this story after precinct chairs vote on the censure resolution tonight.