87th LegislatureState HouseThree Republicans Enter the Race for Texas House Speaker

With two Democrats and two Republicans officially in the race for speaker, more candidates are expected to file in the coming week.
October 29, 2020
The field vying for the Texas House Speakership has increased from two to five as Reps. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall), Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), and John Cyrier (R-Lockhart) become the first Republicans to announce, first reported by the Texas Tribune.

Representing House District 9, Paddie chairs the Energy Resources Committee and sits on the Licensing & Administrative Procedures and Redistricting Committees. He was first elected in 2012 and is unopposed in the 2020 general election.

In a statement, Paddie tweeted, “It’s time for the House to make a new beginning — one that is built on trust among colleagues, a fair and transparent process, and most importantly, a commitment among all Members to faithfully and effectively represent their constituents.”

Ashby, meanwhile, represents House District 57 and sits on the Defense & Veterans’ Affairs and Public Education Committees. He was also first elected to the state House in 2012.

He said in a statement, “Given the collective challenges we will face in upcoming legislative session, as we continue our battle with COVID-19 and work to balance a budget despite revenue challenges, it is critically important that the next Speaker fosters the trust and cooperation necessary to overcome these challenges and deliver the results that all Texans expect and deserve.”

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“I look forward to continue working with members of the House to build a coalition that places character, integrity, and honor at the forefront of the Texas House of Representatives and provide all members with a platform to represent the needs of their districts,” Ashby added.

Representing House District 17, Cyrier chairs the Culture, Recreation, and Tourism Committee and the Sunset Advisory Commission (SAC) in the state House. The latter oversees the state’s regulatory agencies which must be renewed every regular session for the next biennium.

Cyrier first won election in the 2015 special election to replace former Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt who resigned to take the general counsel position for then-newly elected Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.

In a statement, he said, “My top priority as speaker will be to work with all members of the House and build consensus during what is sure to be a challenging session. We must work together to ensure our economy bounces back and our state continues to thrive despite the headwinds of this pandemic.”

Ashby, Paddie, and Cyrier join two Democratic Reps. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) and Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio) as the declared candidates to replace outgoing Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton).

Bonnen chose not to run for re-election this year after the exposure of a meeting between Empower Texans President Michael Quinn Sullivan and the speaker, during which Bonnen suggested 10 Republicans for the conservative grassroots organization to target in exchange for House media credentials.

Sullivan released a recording of the meeting causing a fallout between the House and its speaker.

Democrats gained 12 seats in 2018 and believe they can take the House this year. However, that is still an uphill battle.

Should that lead hold after November 3, Republicans will again decide who will run the chamber for the 87th Legislature come January.

Editor’s note: The piece has been updated to include Rep. Cyrier’s candidacy and Rep. Paddie’s statement.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and 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.