“Most speaker races last a year, this one lasted a week,” Phelan told the press at a short conference held at the state capitol.
Phelan further stated he has a supermajority of support from the GOP caucus but also “broad support” from the Democrats as well. He later released a list of 83 supporting representatives.
Issues he highlighted were the budget deficit, coronavirus, and allowing localities to tailor priorities to their specific needs.
Once Phelan’s candidacy became known, Texas Values Action PAC announced their opposition due to the Beaumont representative’s “advance[ment of] the LGBT agenda” last session regarding a non-discrimination provision Phelan inserted into a religious liberty bill.
During the 86th Legislative Session, Phelan was tasked with chairing the House Committee on State Affairs by Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton), a powerful committee that often serves as a legislative catch-all for some of the most prominent bills addressing social issues.
The behind-the-scenes shuffling reached a fever pitch as Rep. Genie Morrison (R-Victoria) threw her support behind Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) on Election Day and Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) endorsed Phelan earlier today.
In 2018, Bonnen employed a similar tactic and released a list of over 100 Texas House members who pledged to support his speakership, effectively ending the race within days of the general election results.
Bonnen opted not to run for reelection to his seat in the Texas House after a recording was released, exposing a quid pro quo scandal in which the sitting speaker offered press credentials to a prominent grassroots leader in exchange for his select targeting of 10 Republican incumbents.
Though his candidacy was rumored, Phelan officially threw his hat in the ring just three days ago.
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.
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.