Woolley Will Support Straus for Speaker

State Rep. Beverly Woolley, R-Houston, threw her support to House Speaker Joe Straus today, putting an important member of former Speaker Tom Craddick's team on the incumbent's side.

Woolley wasn't committed to a candidate until now. Under Craddick, she chaired the powerful Calendars Committee, which sets the House agenda and importantly, decides what bills will never go to the floor for a vote.

A number of conservatives in the House, including many of Craddick's supporters, have lined up against Straus. Warren Chisum of Pampa and Ken Paxton of McKinney are both running against the speaker, and Chisum will deliver a letter next week demanding that the Republican Caucus vote on a candidate and then vote as a bloc when the vote for speaker is taken on the floor on January 11, the first day of the legislative session.

Straus became speaker in early 2009, when most of the House's Democrats and a small number of Republicans banded together to overthrow Craddick. Straus claims to have collected pledges of support from around 120 of the 150 members of the House since then, while Paxton has named 16 members supporting him. Chisum hasn't named anyone but himself.

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