This post has been revised since we sent our “Breaking News” alert.
Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) announced he had sufficient support from members-elect of both parties to become the next Speaker of the House, succeeding Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), who did not seek re-election.
“The Speaker’s race is over, and the House is ready to work,” Bonnen said during a brief press conference at the Capitol.
He released a list 109 pledges. During his remarks, Bonnen said that it did not matter whether a specific name is or is not on the list. Bonnen said he would continue to uphold the bipartisan traditions of the House, and his top priority would be school finance. The Speaker is elected by a majority vote of the full 150-member House. Last year, the House Republican Caucus established a non-binding process for selecting a preferred candidate via a two-thirds vote.
Bonnen’s list reached both thresholds. It contained 78 Republicans, which is 94% of the incoming Republican Caucus and by itself enough to secure the gavel, and 31 Democrats (out of 63). The only Republicans not on the list were Reps. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches), Drew Darby (R-San Angelo), Jay Dean (R-Longview), Hugh Shine (R-Belton) and Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford). In a tweet, Dean said he sent Bonnen an email expressing his support earlier today.
Earlier in the day, Reps. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) and Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) withdrew as a candidate for Speaker and endorsed Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton), and Darby (R-San Angelo) released his list of pledges. Yesterday, Reps. Phil King (R-Weatherford) and Four Price (R-Amarillo) withdrew and endorsed Bonnen. Clardy, the lone remaining other candidate, withdrew after Bonnen’s press conference.
In a statement, Straus said he had confidence in Bonnen. “He has been a leader in the House for a long time and certainly understands the Speaker’s role and responsibilities,” Straus said. “I trust that, under Dennis’s leadership, the Texas House will continue to be a place where members work together and put the best interests of Texans first.”
The 11-term Republican did not enter the Speaker’s race until October 30. He was unopposed in the general election after defeating primary challenger Damon Rambo, 77%-23%, in March.
Rep. Chris Turner (D-Arlington), chair of the House Democratic Caucus, said in a statement that Democrats “expect any Speaker to let members represent their districts and to prioritize real solutions for all Texans.”
AG: Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) was elected Chair of the Republican Attorneys General Assoc. He was previously its Vice Chair.
Pre-filed Legislation: Today (Monday), members and members-elect of the 86th Texas Legislature began filing bills, constitutional amendment proposals and other resolutions to be considered during the session.
Stockman Sentenced: Former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Friendswood) was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $1M in restitution for defrauding charities and using proceeds for personal expenses and his own political campaigns. He was convicted in April on 23 federal felony counts of mail and wire fraud, money laundering, election law violations and tax evasion.
©2018 Texas Election Source LLC