John Smithee’s decision to run for another term as state representative establishes him as a potential challenger to Joe Straus as speaker. Readers will recall that a group of twenty or so tea party Republicans congregated in Tyler in September for a fundraiser for Matt Schaefer, at which Smithee served as emcee. I wrote about that development and raised the issue of whether the tea party gathering signaled a future speaker’s race.

Smithee was one of several Straus committee chairs who did not vote for the House budget. The point here is that the gathering in Tyler proved that Smithee has a following, which would make him a viable candidate for speaker, should he choose to run. A development worth keeping an eye on, but it’s going to be hard to unseat Straus so long as Democrats remain part of his team.