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Government/Politics

Straus Begins Drumming Up Support For Speaker’s Race; Tea Party Seems Divided On Issue

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While some Tea Party Republicans are asking for new leadership in the Texas House, others’ are siding with the incumbent Speaker, San Antonio Republican, Joe Staus. And while choosing a new House leader won’t happen for another two months, there are already major efforts underway to claim the spot and that’s left a House divided.

For several sessions, Tea Party Republicans have complained that Joe Straus wasn’t conservative enough. The Woodlands Republican Rep., Steve Toth, is one of those who would like to see Tea Party-hopeful, Rockwall Rep. Scott Turner, become the next speaker.

“If you were to talk to the vast majority of conservatives and moderates in the House, they would tell you that Joe Straus is too liberal, but they are afraid if they don’t come out for the winning end, they’ll be punished,” said Toth.

He went on to say, "If the people of Texas, 80 percent of Republicans, believe that John Boehner is too liberal to oversee the House of Representatives in Washington, Joe Strauss although a nice guy, makes John Boehner look like Ted Cruz.” 

But that isn’t why Southlake Tea Party Republican, Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, said he isn’t voting for Turner. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Capriglione told a Tarrant County Tea Party group, that “Turner doesn’t have enough votes nor the depth on policy decisions.”

Straus’s political action committee launched a public relations campaign, promoting the speaker as a conservative leader.  One of Straus’s leading supporters in the House, Granbury Republican Rep. Jim Keffer, said they were attempting to balance out some of the messages coming from groups like Empower Texans, which is supporting Turner.

“You know I call out to Scott Turner, don’t become a patsy for other third party groups, that all they want to do is further their own agenda and control the legislature,” said Keffer.

The first day of the session is solely dedicated to nominating and electing a speaker. It takes 76 votes to win that chair.