The Speaker of the Texas House, Joe Straus, was not a popular man with delegates attending last week’s Texas GOP convention in Fort Worth. The meeting rooms and the main arena at the Fort Worth Convention Center were full of delegates wearing “Oust Straus” stickers. Clearly, a lot of animosity remains for the man who rose to Speaker when “the gang of eleven” rebelled against former Speaker Craddick to cut a dirty deal with Democrats. This was of course, before the 2010 election rocketed the Republicans to super majority status.
Listen to delegates (at 0:18) as they chant against Straus:
Straus is widely described as a moderate and Texans seem to be crying out for the conservative Speaker that a 101 – 49 margin should deliver. Yet, Straus is still Speaker. For now.
Enter Texas House member Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola
Representative Bryan Hughes played a key roll in defunding Planned Parenthood in the last legislative session. Now, he wants Straus’ job. I spoke with Hughes in his booth in the exhibit area of the convention, and by luck was later seated for lunch with him. He seems to be salt of the earth conservative and deadly serious in his resolve to defeat Straus.
Hey Joe, where you gonna go, with that gavel in your hand?
On Saturday, the last day of the convention, the bad news continued for Straus. The powers that be were arguing for Straus to be considered as a statewide candidate and join the other Texas statewide candidates as an at large delegate to the National GOP Convention in Tampa. On the national nominating committee sat long term activist Kathy Haigler. Not so fast, says she. The Speaker is not a statewide candidate and his spot should go to a grassroots activist. Her amendment passed the nominating committee, removing the sitting Speaker of Texas from the delegates list. That’s gonna leave a mark.
I have not much sympathy to offer Speaker Straus but I do have a little advice. Buckle up sir, you are in for bumpy ride all the way through to the next session. You can make book on it.