The next speaker of the Texas House should be chosen by the Republican Caucus instead of the full House, says state Rep. Warren Chisum, and he has prepared a letter with 10 signatures that he says will force a caucus vote.

The Pampa representative — one of three Republicans running for speaker — says he'll send a letter to the caucus on Dec. 29 and that the members will have seven days under the caucus' rules within which to hold a vote for speaker. He's hoping that vote will take place on Jan. 5 — the Wednesday before the legislative session begins.

"We need a Republican caucus to meet and select one conservative candidate for Speaker of the House," Chisum said in a press release. "The voters of Texas have elected a strong overwhelming majority of Republicans to the Texas House of Representatives. We need to respond to the will of the voters and work together to select a single Republican nominee for Speaker."

Chisum and Rep. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, are challenging Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio, a Republican they contend is too moderate to lead a House that now has 101 Republicans and only 49 Democrats.

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The demand letter requires 10 signatures. In addition to Chisum, it includes Reps. Allen Fletcher of Tomball, Dan Flynn of Van, Kelly Hancock of North Richland Hills, Rick Hardcastle of Vernon, Charlie Howard of Sugar Land, Phil King of Weatherford, Geanie Morrison of Victoria, Debbie Riddle of Tomball and Randy Weber of Pearland. [Update: Late in the day, Chisum added a name. Jim Landtroop, R-Plainview, will also have his signature on the letter.]

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