Simpson’s in. Hughes is out. And Joe Straus probably isn’t going to lose the Speaker’s race.
That’s the first wave of reaction to this morning’s Texas legislature news, which found Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) filing to run for Speaker of the House, immediately displacing Rep. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) as the conservative challlenger to two-time incumbent Joe Straus (R-San Antonio).
As Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune reported, Simpson announced his intentions with an open letter in which he promised to “transform the way the House is led and the spirit of its operations… . The culture of ‘go along to get along’ politics, where members face intimidation and retribution should they disagree with a leadership decision, stifles representative government.”
“My own policy views are no secret to you,” Simpson continued. “I believe in and will always work for limited government and the protection of civil liberties. But, this does not necessitate a strong-arm approach to leadership. In fact, it requires the opposite.”
Hughes withdrew from the race almost immediately, issuing a statement that began, “I wholeheartedly endorse my friend David Simpson for Speaker of the House.”
The possibility of Simpson running was first reported by the Tribune’s Evan Smith and Jay Root late last Sunday night.
At that time, Simpson said, “I’m praying about it. And I’ll do the right thing,” while Hughes said he was “going full speed ahead.”
Texas Monthly’s Paul Burka had speculated last week about a possible “divide-and-conquer” strategy against Straus. Obviously that has not turned out to be the case, but, Burka