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Speaker's Race in Texas House?

Simpson photo Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune; Straus photo Texas House of Representatives

The current speaker of the Texas House of Representatives may face a challenge when the 2013 Legislative gavels in this January.

State Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview), has announced his intention to challenge current speaker Rep. Joe Straus (R-San Antonio.) The Texas Tribune reports Simpson filed paperwork to run for speaker, and has a letter from Simpson declaring his intentions. It reads in part:

“The culture of ‘go along to get along’ politics, where members face intimidation and retribution should they disagree with a leadership decision, stifles representative government. ... The rules must be applied without disparity and not give way to the convenience of an individual political agenda. For some, the outcome justifies any means by which it is accomplished — even trampling the rights of others.”

Following the announcement another Straus challenger – Rep. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) – dropped out and put his support behind Simpson.

Straus became Speaker of the House in 2009, wresting control from Rep. Tom Craddick. He was re-elected speaker in 2011, despite a challenge from fellow Republicans. As KUT News wrote at the time, staunchly conservative members felt re-electing Straus could jeopardize a more conservative agenda.

The 83rd Texas Legislature convenes Tuesday, Jan. 8 at noon. 

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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