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TribBlog: Straus Rebuffs Patrick

State Sen. Dan Patrick issued a release saying he would host a sit-down meeting of the three candidates for speaker in a "neutral" location. But House Speaker Joe Straus' office says it never agreed to to the meet-up.

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The continuing saga of the race for House speaker is beginning to resemble a mafia drama.

Taking on the role of godfather is state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, who, as a senator, has no vote in this matter. He is seeking to host a sit-down on a "neutral site" between the three Republican speaker candidates.

"Last week I began talking to all parties about facilitating a face to face meeting and received positive feedback from all sides," Patrick wrote in a statement. "With their agreement, I have decided to host a private meeting, on a neutral site in Austin, on Tuesday November 23. All three candidates have agreed to be present along with representatives from the conservative and tea party movements. Each candidate will be invited to sit down separately for 45 minutes with grassroots representatives, share their vision for 2011, and answer questions that do not violate any ethics rules."

But wait. House Speaker Joe Straus' office tells us this afternoon that the speaker never agreed to the aforementioned meet-up. We went back to Patrick's office and sought clarification.

"It's a conversation that Dan had with the Speaker and Dan came away from the conversation with the impression that he agreed to have the meeting," said Logan Spence, an aide to Patrick. "I don't know if this is reflecting internal discord but Dan stands beside his statement."

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