The House Republican Caucus endorsed Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) for re-election by a reported 78-6 secret ballot vote. Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R-Arligton) was the only other candidate nominated.
“Every member will play a role in our legislative process,” Phelan tweeted after the vote. “I look forward to earning the votes of all my colleagues when” the session convenes.
“Because Dade Phelan has all the support of Democrats, Republicans fear the bully tactics of his team if they oppose him,” Tinderholt said in a statement issued after the vote, the secret nature of which should have enabled Republicans who oppose Phelan to do so freely. “I am undeterred in my fight to ensure we have strong conservative leadership this session and look forward to the floor vote on the first day of session.”
HD135: Mike May, the Republican who lost to Rep. Jon Rosenthal (D-Houston) by more than 6K votes, has filed a petition with the Secretary of State seeking to have the election voided and a new one ordered. In his one-page petition, May alleges the outcome of his race “is not the true outcome because an election officer or other person officially involved in the administration of the election prevented eligible voters from voting.” May contends voters left polling places without voting “because numerous polling locations … did not have any paper ballots when those voters arrived.”
To succeed, May would need to prove that the number of voters who weren’t able to vote must at least equal the margin of defeat against Rosenthal, which would be more than 15% of voters in the district.
In a statement, Rosenthal said, “This ridiculous petition should be rejected out-of-hand as frivolous and without any merit, completely absent of any numerical basis for a challenge.”
Formal election contests for legislative races are referred to the House Speaker who appoints a committee and a special master to investigate the complaint. The last election contest to go to the House was a 2010 race involving a 12-vote margin of victory. Then-Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) appointed a nine-member select committee chaired by former Rep. Bob Hunter (R-Abilene) and named Rep. Will Hartnett (R-Dallas) as the special. The committee ultimately determined the challenger “failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that the election contest outcome was not the true outcome.” The vote was unanimous.
Secretary of State: Secretary of State John Scott announced he would resign effective Dec. 31 to return to his private law practice. Scott has served in the position since October 2021 as the fifth Secretary of State named by Gov. Greg Abbott (R). Abbott’s next nominee will be subject to confirmation by the Senate.
The last three – David Whitley, Ruth Hughs and Scott – were not confirmed by the Senate. Whitley and Hughs resigned after failing to receive Senate confirmation, and Scott is resigning before the Senate next convenes.
Dallas: Former Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said he would not challenge Mayor Eric Johnson.
Houston: LULAC has filed a lawsuit against the city challenging its model of 11 single-member districts and five at-large districts.