The race for the next Texas House Speaker is all but over after Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria) withdrew on Thursday afternoon.
In a statement to the Texas Tribune, Morrison said, “My team and I are uniting the Republican Caucus with our support of Dade Phelan.”
Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) announced on Wednesday that he had the votes secured to become the next speaker. Morrison, however, had a last-minute push after Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) announced his withdrawal from the race to endorse her.
But after a meeting between Republican members, Morrison decided to drop out and get behind Phelan.
At his Wednesday presser, Phelan said he had 83 members in his camp — more than the 76 required.
Included in that list are numerous Democrats, whose chances of electing their own speaker were dashed on Tuesday night after no gains were made on the GOP majority.
Earlier today, before Morrison’s announcement, Phelan tweeted that he had secured the support of 57 Republicans and 49 Democrats.
Barring a shake-up, Phelan has now secured the gavel for the 87th Legislative Session.
“These races normally last a year, but this one lasted a week,” Phelan remarked on Wednesday.
He will succeed Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) who did not seek re-election after a scandal in which he offered a list of Republican legislators to Empower Texans to target in the 2020 election in exchange for press credentials for their organization.
Most of the announced speakers candidates have fallen behind Phelan since he became the favorite to take the position.
Earlier today, Phelan selected Tommy Williams, a former advisor to Governor Abbott, to chair his transition team.
The legislature will convene in the new year with no clear direction on procedure as it pertains to coronavirus. Whether it will be a “virtual” session or held in a more traditional format remains up in the air.
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.