McCall, a 51-year-old Plano Republican, wasn't available for comment. But he's contacting supporters and allies today to tell them of his decision.
He's the chairman of the Calendars Committee that sets the House's daily agenda and decides which bills do and don't come to a vote. And he's a member of the Polo Road Gang, a group of 11 Republicans who met on January 2 at Rep. Byron Cook's Austin house to choose their candidate for speaker. That bloc, combined with most of the House Democrats and some votes picked up later, made Straus the speaker and ousted Midland Republican Tom Craddick from the post.
He will have served 20 years in the House when his current term ends in January 2011, and he has remained popular in his district: He never got less than 65 percent in a general or primary election and usually ran without opposition. His HD-66 is solidly Republican and would be a difficult pickup for the Democrats even with McCall out of the running.
McCall has been mentioned as a possible candidate for state Senate — speculation resulting from Sen. Florence Shapiro's efforts to win a promotion to the U.S. Senate. Both are Plano Republicans, and if Shapiro were to run, McCall is in a spot to try for her job. He's played down those rumors. And now that Kay Bailey Hutchison has said she'll remain in office until after the first of the year (and the filing deadline for candidates in the 2010 elections), the fuel for that political speculation is scarce.
McCall was himself a candidate for speaker before the 2007 legislative session. He was the apparent leader among candidates to challenge Craddick that year, but stepped aside to back Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, who went on to lose to the incumbent. Both men backed Straus at the beginning of this year, and both were rewarded — Pitts with a new run as chairman of House Appropriations, and McCall, with the job at Calendars, his first chairmanship.