State Rep. Tom Oliverson says his race for Speaker of the House is moving “to the next level,” after Dade Phelan narrowly avoided defeat in Tuesday’s runoff.

In March, Oliverson announced his candidacy for Speaker and promised a series of reforms, including ending Phelan’s practice of awarding chairmanship positions to Democrats.

Though Phelan won re-election to his southeast Texas House seat last night, whether or not he will be speaker again has yet to be determined. 

In a statement on Wednesday following the election results—which saw numerous incumbent Phelan allies defeated—Oliverson promised to take the vote to the floor of the House.

“Last night’s results made clear that Dade Phelan will be returning to the Texas House as a member. The only thing left to decide is whether he will be returning as Speaker,” said Oliverson. “The conservative Republican majority in Texas have spoken. They want the Texas House to move in a different direction. They are fed-up with the status-quo and are clamoring for change. The fact that 9 GOP members decided not to seek reelection and 14 members were replaced by the voters proves that point.”

Oliverson put speculation that there will not be a contested speaker vote to bed:

I want to reiterate so that everyone is clear – I intend to take the fight all the way to the floor. I will ensure that Republican members will have the opportunity to declare their preference and cast their vote for the status-quo or a new direction.

The Republican Majority will get the chance to go on the record as to whether or not they choose to continue to be ruled by Democrat Chairs, sit idly while House leadership wastes the first 60 days of the Session, chafe under a parliamentary system that is weaponized against them, suffer another Session without votes on key conservative priorities, and watch as leadership kills their bills over petty personality differences.

“The Speakers race should begin by nomination in caucus of the majority party – not a brokered backroom deal that empowers the tyranny of the minority. My campaign for Speaker moves to the next level today,” he added.

Thus far, only Phelan and Oliverson have announced their intention to run for Speaker of the House, though Republican State Rep. Shelby Slawson, who is rumored to be considering a run, recently wrote an op-ed in which she compared Phelan to an arsonist attempting to be fire chief.

Add Your Comment