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TribBlog: Chisum Running for Speaker [Updated]

As he was widely expected to do, state Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, officially threw his hat into the race for Speaker today.

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As he was widely expected to do, state Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, officially threw his hat into the race for speaker of the House today.

He circulated a letter announcing his run. It is attached as a PDF.

Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, released a statement saying, "My style of respectful, inclusive leadership has earned the support of the vast majority of members of the Republican caucus and the Texas House. In these critical weeks before the election, I believe my fellow Republicans should be focused on building our Republican majority in the Texas House, as I am working hard to do."

State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, was also considering a run to replace Straus."He gave up his integrity at the beginning of last session when he made commitments to Democrats that there would be no bills on illegal aliens, no bills on pro-life, and no voter ID bill," Berman told the Tribune.

Berman said that insteading of running, he will throw his support behind Chisum. "I expect to stand next to Warren Chisum and relinquish my candidacy for Speaker and totally support him and work hard for him to get him elected speaker," Berman said.

UPDATED

A few House Democrats have weighed in on Chisum's annoucement. Here is what some of the minority members in the House are saying:

Rep. Garnett Coleman, D-Houston:

"With 20 days to go, my Democratic colleagues and I are focused on the upcoming election, not a speaker's race. It's my belief that Democrats will have a majority in the 82nd Legislature, so it won't matter which Republican decides to throw their hat in the ring. Nevertheless, Rep. Chisum is a nice enough guy, and I've had a good working relationship with him, but Speaker Straus has shown that he knows how to guide an evenly divided house. It's important that we maintain civility and continue to put Texas first. Speaker Straus and I don't agree on most major policy issues, but we know how to work for Texas without being disagreeable."

Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine:

"I’ve known Warren a long time and Warren is certainly a credible candidate and [was] the chairman of Appropriations [Committee] two years ago or so. So he is clearly an experienced candidate and clearly somebody that folks will look at. But that decision, frankly, is going to made more, I think, on the Republican side than on the Democratic side. They are going to have some internal conversations about what direction they want to go in before they have any conversations with us."

Rep. Jim Dunnam, D-Waco:

"I think that it’s always good for House members to have choices on anything."

When asked whom he would support after the election, Dunnam responded: "I am not looking past Nov. 2 and I haven’t signed a pledge card for anybody. So I am not going to speculate on what happens after Nov. 2."

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