Former Speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus is back and aiming to influence upcoming elections in Texas with the creation of his new Texas Forever Forward PAC.

Seeding the effort with an initial $2.5 million investment left over from his campaign coffers, Straus said in a press release Wednesday morning that the PAC would “promote a thoughtful, conservative approach to governing and rising political leaders ready to ensure a bright future for all Texans.”

“We are launching this effort because I believe Texas needs leaders who are forward-looking and dedicated to bringing creative, problem-solving ideas to the new challenges our state faces as our population rapidly grows,” Straus said. “It’s time to unite Texas in civic participation and ensure our next decades are the very best in our long, proud history.”

Straus also announced the appointment of Justice Wallace Jefferson as the PAC’s treasurer. A former Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, leaked emails reveal Jefferson was considered as a potential U.S. Supreme Court nominee by the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016. He also served as former University of Texas Chancellor William McRaven’s attorney when former Regent Wallace Hall sued him in his official capacity for denying him access to university records.

Taking power in 2009 through the result of a Democrat-led coup against Republican Speaker Tom Craddick of Midland, Straus spent almost a decade obstructing and subverting the will of Republican primary voters and the party platform—killing efforts to protect life, gun rights, and limit government from coming to the floor of the Texas House.

After the Republican Caucus passed bylaws to elect a unified Republican candidate for speaker, Straus was forced to call it quits, leaving the post—and the legislature—after ten years behind the gavel.

But with nearly $8 million in his campaign account, and very little of it spent during the 2018 elections to fight against the Democrats’ “blue wave,” observers have expected a return to the political field for Straus. With the creation of his new PAC, Straus appears to show a desire once again to be politically relevant in Texas.

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