The Back MicThe Back Mic: Phelan on Democratic Chair Fight, Senate Election Drawing Listed, Freedom Caucus Adds Four Members

This week — Speaker Phelan discusses Wednesday’s rules fight, the Senate districts up for election in 2024 and 2026 are listed, and the Texas Freedom Caucus announces new members.
January 13, 2023

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Speaker Phelan on House Rules Fight

Yesterday was the Texas House in all its glory,” Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) told a gaggle of reporters on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Texas House adopted its rules for the 88th Legislative Session without provisions sought by some to ban or restrict Democrats from committee chairmanships.

I expect vigorous debates on a lot of issues and I’m happy to have those debates,” he added. “We had some yesterday and we’ll have them until sine die. That’s why I love the Texas House.”

He was then asked if the point of order — which hinged on a cleverly crafted provision in the housekeeping resolution, adopted before the rules were considered, that prohibited the use of House resources for “political purposes” — saved certain members from “having to take tough votes” on the array of amendments.

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We’re used to those types, those happen every session,” Phelan said. “I know where my members are on all these issues. It’s pretty public who’s where, so I’m very happy the way it turned out yesterday. It was a good day for the House.”

Concerning the practice of minority party chairmanships, Phelan said, “A lot we do in the House is not Republican versus Democrat. It could be rural versus urban.”

“And so there are some committees that aren’t partisan, so I see no reason why I can’t give some of my Democratic colleagues [some of those].”

Senators Draw for 2024 and 2026 Elections

Because the Texas Senate’s four-year terms do not fit neatly into the decennial redistricting period, after districts are redrawn, senators must draw to see who must run again in 2024.

That drawing occurred on Wednesday. Not only does it determine who must run again next cycle, but also who can and cannot run from cover for statewide office in 2026. Here’s the list of which senators and districts will be up for election in which cycle:


  • Senate District (SD) 6: Carol Alvarado (D-Houston)
  • SD 7: Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston)
  • SD 8: Angela Paxton (R-McKinney)
  • SD 10: Phil King (R-Weatherford)
  • SD 12: Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound)
  • SD 14: Sarah Eckhardt (D-Austin)
  • SD 15: John Whitmire (D-Houston)
  • SD 16: Nathan Johnson (D-Dallas)
  • SD 17: Joan Huffman (R-Houston)
  • SD 20: Juan ‘Chuy’ Hinojosa (D-McAllen)
  • SD 23: Royce West (D-Dallas)
  • SD 25: Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels)
  • SD 27: Morgan LaMantia (D-South Padre Island)
  • SD 29: César Blanco (D-El Paso)
  • SD: 30: Drew Springer (R-Muenster)


  • SD 1: Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola)
  • SD 2: Bob Hall (R-Edgewood)
  • SD 3: Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville)
  • SD 4: Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe)
  • SD 5: Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown)
  • SD 9: Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills)
  • SD 11: Mayes Middleton (R-Galveston)
  • SD 13: Borris Miles (R-Houston)
  • SD 18: Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham)
  • SD 19: Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio)
  • SD 21: Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo)
  • SD 22: Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury)
  • SD 24: Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton)
  • SD 26: José Menéndez (D-San Antonio)
  • SD 28: Charles Perry (R-Lubbock)
  • SD 31: Kevin Sparks (R-Midland)

Find your representative here.

Texas Freedom Caucus Adds Four Members

The membership of the Texas Freedom Caucus has grown to 12 after four freshman lawmakers joined the group:

  • Richard Hayes (R-Denton)
  • Carrie Isaac (R-Dripping Springs)
  • Terri Leo-Wilson (R-Galveston)
  • Nate Schatzline (R-Fort Worth)

We are thrilled to add such a well-rounded group of legislators to the Texas Freedom Caucus as we continue our fight in the Texas House,” stated Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler).

Each of these legislators have demonstrated commitment to conservative and liberty-centered values as well as a firm understanding of our mission to provide the Texas grassroots with a voice within the Texas Legislature.”

This new influx gives the group four more members than it had at the start of the 2021 session.


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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.