Apparently Beto O’Rourke isn’t the only Texas liberal fleeing the Lone Star State for California. Retiring Texas House Speaker Joe Straus headed to Hollywood today to rub shoulders with lobbyists and legislators alike at a reception honoring him and other members of the Texas Legislature.

Straus, who announced his retirement from the legislature last October, isn’t currently on the ballot for any political position, leaving the question open: What exactly is the retiring politician being honored for?

The event was held in the City Club Los Angeles, a members-only club located in the heart of downtown LA. Jack Erskine, an Austin lobbyist and lawyer with the firm K&L Gates, hosted the event, as he has done for the last several years.

Texas Scorecard was on location to see who attended and why they came out to support Straus, an individual who has become infamous in Texas for repeatedly killing conservative legislation and thwarting the will of the grassroots during his decade-long reign.

Confronted by Texas Scorecard, Straus refused to answer questions concerning the nature of his event, including whether it was a political fundraiser or if he was running for another political office (unrefuted rumors continue to swirl that Straus is contemplating running for governor in 2022).

Though Straus was mum on the details of the meeting, several members of the Texas Legislature were open about the event, saying it was a reception headlined by Straus honoring members of both parties.

Spotted attending the event were Republican State Reps. Tan Parker (Flower Mound), John Zerwas (Richmond), Dennis Paul (Clear Lake), John Raney (College Station), and State Sen. Larry Taylor (Friendswood).

Both Parker and Zerwas are mounting campaigns to succeed Straus as Speaker of the Texas House.

Also attending the event were members of the Texas Democrat Party, including State Reps. Mary Gonzales (El Paso), Gene Wu (Houston), Poncho Nevarez (Eagle Pass), Harold Dutton (Houston), and Barbara Gervin-Hawkins (San Antonio).

If Straus is indeed contemplating a bid for governor of Texas—with California cash—-to say that he’s California dreamin’ is an understatement.

Straus may have been able to retain the Speaker’s gavel through a coalition of Democrats and turncoat Republicans, but he won’t find the Texas electorate interested in any such arrangement. As US Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign ad quips, “If you’re gonna run in Texas, you can’t be a liberal man.”

Cary Cheshire

Cary Cheshire is the Vice President of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. A 6th Generation Texan, Cary attended Texas A&M University was active in a number of conservative causes including Ted Cruz's Senate campaign. He has also worked on campaigns to elect conservatives to Congress and the Texas Legislature. Cary enjoys college football, genealogy research, and the occasional craft beer.

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