This post has been updated throughout since we sent out our Breaking News alert.
Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) and State Affairs Committee Chair Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) announced they would not seek re-election.
“I believe that in a representative democracy, those who serve in public office should do so for a time, not for a lifetime,” Straus said in a statement. “My time as a State Representative and as Speaker will end at the conclusion of my current term.”
Straus has served five terms as speaker since ousting Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland) just before the 2009 session. Cook was one of the last remaining Republican members who backed Straus over Craddick. Those 13 Republicans joined the Democrats in providing Straus the votes he needed to claim the gavel. He has survived several intra-party challenges since, though only one ever came to a full vote of the House (Another ended in a caucus vote.).
“I will also continue to work for a Republican Party that tries to bring Texans together instead of us pulling us apart,” Straus said. “I plan to be a voice for Texans who want a more constructive and unifying approach to our challenges, from the White House on down.”
Cook has served since 2003. He narrowly won his last Republican primary race over Corsicana businessman Thomas McNutt, who is running again this year.
“I will pursue other opportunities to serve our great state,” Cook said in a statement. “I will work hard throughout the remaining 14 months of my current term in serving my district.” Cook was recently appointed to chair a Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness, and he said he will fulfill that duty. Cook also chairs the powerful Committee on State Affairs.
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