The runoff election in Texas will determine November's races following the Republican Party's civil war

House Speaker Dade Phelan survives a brutal primary challenge


House Speaker Dade Phelan survives a brutal primary challenge

04:02

Speaker of the Texas House Dad Phelan survived the nasty primary drain for his seat, while fellow conservative state Rep. Justin Holland lost his suburban Dallas seat to Trump 2016 spokeswoman Katrina Pierson in two of the high-profile races in the increasingly bloody internal war among Texas Republicans.

Despite Republicans' 84-66 majority in the House of Representatives and the successful conservative agenda of the 2023 legislative session, 15 Republicans in the House of Representatives lost to challengers, either in the March primary or in the runoff on Tuesday night . Republicans were victims of the party war, which targeted Attorney General Ken Paxton Republicans who voted to impeach him last year and separately, Gov. Greg Abbott supported challengers to Republicans who voted against his school voucher bill.

Six of the eight incumbents lost to challengers on Tuesday night, with Abbott declaring on Tuesday night that he had enough votes to pass his voucher bill. Last fall, 21 state House Republicans — mostly from rural districts — joined all Democrats beat his voucher bill. Abbott supported several Republican challengers who voted against his bill.

Phelan, who has represented the Beaumont region since 2015 and served two terms as chairman, did not pressure his members to support Abbott's bill during a special legislative session in November, the government said. Texas Tribune.

Voting bills before the Texas Legislature
Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan oversees debate on a voting bill in the House Chamber at the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, May 23, 2023.

Eric Gay/AP


Although Abbott stayed out of Phelan's race, Paxton had vowed to beat him and challenger David Covey even managed to get the support of former President Donald Trump and powerful Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.

According to The Associated Press, Phelan managed to hold off Covey by fewer than 500 votes on Tuesday.

“I am deeply grateful to the voters of Southeast Texas who have spoken loud and clear: In Southeast Texas, we set our own course – our community is not for sale, and our values ​​are not for sale,” Phelan said in a speech . rack. “I am deeply indebted to every voter and volunteer whose continued dedication turned this vision into tonight's resounding victory.”

After the results, Paxton posted on social media “Texas AG Ken Paxton's Statement on Dade Phelan Stealing Election” and called for the primaries to be closed to Republicans only.

“My message to Austin is clear: To those considering supporting Dade Phelan for Speaker in 2025, ask your 15 colleagues who lost reelection how they feel about their decision now,” Paxton said. “You're not coming back if you vote for Dade Phelan again!”

Phelan was targeted by Paxton because he led the impeachment trial in the Texas House last year against Paxton, one of Trump's closest allies. Phelan had launched the investigation into Paxton early in the 2023 legislative session and went on to accuse Paxton of misconduct allegations, including bribery and abuse of office.

Problems in healthcare
The Texas Capitol is viewed from the south side on Wednesday, January 5, 2005 in Austin, Texas.

HARRY CABLUCK v AP


Before the impeachment vote, Paxton accused Phelan of being drunk in the House of Representatives.

Sixty House Republicans – more than two-thirds of the total 84 Republicans in the House of Representatives – voted along with all 66 Democrats to impeach Paxton on 20 articles. Paxton was ultimately acquitted in the GOP-controlled Senate.

The victorious Paxton then endorsed challengers to those who voted to oust him and embarked on a “fall statewide tour” to campaign for them. Facing Paxton-backed challenger, Republican Rep. Andrew Murr, the impeachment manager, is the grandson of Coke Stevenson, who famously lost the disputed 1948 Senate election to Lyndon Johnson. chose not to stand for re-election.

Phelan came in second during the March primary, but Covey did not receive the 50% vote needed to avoid a runoff.

The five state House representatives representing Paxton's home county of Collin County were among the 60 who voted to impeach him. In a joint statement, they said the vote was an “incredibly difficult one as Ken has been a long-time friend to most of us.”

One of those five, Paxton's hometown lawmaker, Rep. Frederick Frazier, was defeated by challenger Keresa Richardson on Tuesday night. In addition to being targeted by Paxton, Frazier had pleaded guilty to criminal mischief and no contest on two counts of allegedly impersonating a government official.

Another of Paxton's targets was Holland, which also represents Paxton's home district of Collin County. Abbott supported Pierson in the primaries, given Holland's vote against school vouchers. Holland had also angered the party's right wing after voting down in committee a bill that had no chance of passing the House and would have raised the age for gun background checks after a shooting in his district.

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