Berman Expected To Challenge House Speaker Straus

State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler
State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler

Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, is expected to challenge House Speaker Joe Straus for his job, according to Capitol sources.

Asked Monday whether he would seek Straus' post, Berman told the Tribune: "I can't say anything until tomorrow." 

Berman, a conservative known for his tough anti-illegal immigration positions, isn't a surprise challenger to Straus, who took office last session with the support of moderate lawmakers in both parties. Berman has courted the support of the anti-establishment Tea Party, speaking at the group's convention, and has made his displeasure with Straus' leadership on the immigration issue known.

Last week, he told WFAA-TV in Dallas that he plans to file legislation similar to a recent Arizona law that gives local police more authority to enforce immigration regulations, even though he believes Straus would block his efforts: 

"Because he and the other ten pledged to the Democrats in the House that none of those bills will come to the floor," Berman said.

Straus has been speaker for less than a year and a half, and didn’t sound preoccupied with the race when he talked to the Tribune earlier this month.

"I'm concerned with the work of the House," Straus said at the time. "As far as politics goes, I'm focused on protecting our Republican incumbents and helping Republicans in the open seats. ... I'm focused on retaining and expanding the Republican majority in the House.”

 

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