And Taylor Makes 106

Speaker Straus makes tactical gains in race to be speaker again

Speaker Straus with Press Secretary Angela Hale:
Speaker Straus with Press Secretary Angela Hale: "Humbled and honored to have received this overwhelming support" (Photo by Richard Whittaker)

It may still be a year and a half away, but Texas House Speaker Joe Straus is parlaying his strong report card from the 81st Legislature into his run to lead the 82nd as well.

Yesterday evening, Straus' press secretary Angela Hale put out a press release announcing 98 members had signed pledge cards backing his candidacy: By 9pm, she was able to add another 8 names. That brings him to a comfortable 106 supporters, crossing party lines and including noted liberals and conservatives (see the full list after the jump.)

But before anyone counts this as a done deal, here are a handful of important considerations to take into account.

One, a name missing off the list basically means nothing at this stage: A whole bunch of reps are either still asleep, on vacation, or just hiding after the session.

Two, pledge cards are not written in stone, and Straus is the only person that he has announced he will run again, making this a one-horse race so far (that said, it just got harder for other riders to make it to the starting gate.)

Three, and most importantly, this is the current House talking about what the next House will do.

There are primaries and a general election to go yet, and the makeup of the entire chamber could change. True, the rumor for much of the session has been that, even if the House goes to a 75-75 split, or if the Republicans re-enforce their majority, Straus will keep the big seat. But, as one ranking Democrat confided, if the Democrats take back the House, they're taking back the House – Speaker's gavel and all.

Here's the press release and full list:

AUSTIN – Just days after the end of the 81st Texas Legislative Session, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus announced he has support from the vast majority of House Members for his re-election as Speaker for a second term. "As of this morning we have received 98 signed pledge cards from colleagues reaffirming their commitment to re-elect me as their Speaker. I am humbled and honored to have received this overwhelming support. This is a clear indication that members of both parties can set aside their differences to work together to find solutions to critical issues facing our state. I look forward to building on this foundation and working with all of the members during the legislative interim."

Below is a list of supporters to date:

Roberto Alonzo
Carol Alvarado
Rafael Anchia
Jimmie Don Aycock
Dwayne Bohac
Valinda Bolton
Dennis Bonnen
Dan Branch
Angie Chen Button
Joaquin Castro
Norma Chavez
Ellen Cohen
Garnet Coleman
Byron Cook
Frank Corte, Jr.
Brandon Creighton
Drew Darby
John Davis
Joseph "Joe" Deshotel
Dawnna Dukes
Craig Eiland
Rob Eissler
Gary Elkins
Kirk England
Stephen Frost
Pete Gallego
Charlie Geren
Veronica Gonzales
Ryan Guillen
Roland Gutierrez
Mike "Tuffy" Hamilton
Richard "Rick" Hardcastle
Linda Harper-Brown
Ana Hernandez
Abel Herrero
Scott Hochberg
Mark Homer
Chuck Hopson
Bryan Hughes
Todd Hunter
Carl Isett
Jim Jackson
Delwin Jones
James "Jim" Keffer
Carol Kent
Tracy King
Tim Kleinschmidt
Lois Kolkhorst
Edmund Kuempel
Jodie Laubenberg
Ken Legler
Eddie Lucio III
Jerry Madden
Marisa Marquez
Armando "Mando" Martinez
Brian McCall
Ruth Jones McClendon
Jim McReynolds
Jose Menendez
Thomas "Tommy" Merritt
Robert Miklos
Doug Miller
Joseph Moody
Rene Oliveira
Rob Orr
Solomon Ortiz, Jr.
John Otto
Tan Parker
Diane Patrick
Ken Paxton
Aaron Pena
Larry Phillips
Joseph "Joe" Pickett
Paula Pierson
Jim Pitts
Chente Quintanilla
Richard Pena Raymond
Allan Ritter
Eddie Rodriguez
Patrick Rose
Ralph Sheffield
Mark Shelton
Todd Smith
Burt Solomons
Mark Strama
Joe Straus
David Swinford
Kristi Thibaut
Senfronia Thompson
Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles
Vicki Truitt
Chris Turner
Allen Vaught
Marc Veasey
Michael "Mike" Villarreal
Randy Weber
Tara Rios Ybarra
John Zerwas

And here's the addendum from Angela Hale:
As additional pledges of support come in for his continued leadership as Speaker, Joe Straus wishes to express his appreciation. Latest additions include: Rep. Joe Driver, Rep. David Farabee, Rep. Jessica Farrar, Rep. Patricia Harless, Rep. Donna Howard, Rep. Sid Miller, Rep. John Smithee, and Rep. Larry Taylor.

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