Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford) filed paperwork establishing his candidacy for Speaker of the House “in order to have an open discussion concerning the future of our Texas House.” The 10-term lawmaker has served as chair or co-chair of a committee under each of the last three Speakers, including being Speaker Joe Straus’s (R-San Antonio) chair of Homeland Security and Public Safety this session.

Rep. Phil King

Rep. Phil

Speaker Joe Straus

Speaker Joe Straus

Straus has previously announced he would seek a sixth term as the House’s presiding officer and filed paperwork establishing his candidacy.

Straus was unopposed for his fifth term as Speaker this year. In 2015, he defeated former Rep. Scott Turner (R-Frisco) in a 127-19 record vote. Prior to the vote, 75 Republicans (including King) and 46 Democrats had publicly pledged their support to Straus. Of the 19 who voted for Turner, 14 are still in the House. Two of those 14 – Reps. Pat Fallon (R-Frisco) and Mark Keough (R-The Woodlands) – are not seeking re-election. Former Rep. Stuart Spitzer (R-Kaufman), who is not currently in the House, is running to reclaim the HD4 seat.

Straus has faced opposition leading up to prior sessions but has otherwise not faced a record vote of his colleagues, including when he ousted former Speaker Tom Craddick (R-Midland) in 2009. Eleven Republicans joined the chamber’s Democrats in providing Straus with enough votes to secure the job, and Craddick conceded prior to the convening of the regular session. Of those 11 Republicans, only Straus and Reps. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) and Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth) remain in the House.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.