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Straus Looking To Keep Speakership, But First Must Get Through The Primary

David Martin Davies
TPR News
Joe Straus stands with supporters as early voting opens for the March primary.

Early voting is underway for the Texas March 4 primaries and many incumbents around the state are seeing tea party-supported challengers -- that includes House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio.

Straus holds one of the most powerful positions in state government, but before he can be speaker he must win the Republican nomination for state representative.

Straus is challenged by tea party-supported Matt Beebe, who said Straus is not a true conservative.

“Well, I think there’s no doubt that the legislature would be better served with an actual conservative that would be willing to step forward and lead on conservative issues," Beebe said.

On Monday, the first day of early voting, Straus was greeted by supporters after he cast his ballot. He said he had no problem with the voter ID situation and encouraged others to take advantage of early voting.

“The importance of the primary is in many cases more important than in the general because it is the only election that counts in many many cases," Straus said.

Straus also said he expects to have continued support from other state reps and continue as speaker.

“It’s really because I do what I’ll say I do," Straus said. "I have an agenda that I laid out before the last session – that’s water, education reforms, transportation, and budget transparency -- and we made great strides on all of them.”

This is the second time Beebe has challenged Straus. In 2012 he lost with 37 percent of the vote.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi