State Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, is dropping his challenge to House Speaker Joe Straus and will vote for the incumbent when the House convenes later today, he said in a letter released this morning. Chisum writes that he'll go with the will of the Republican Caucus, which gave 70 of 100 votes to Straus in a straw poll yesterday afternoon.
Chisum's letter contradicts an announcement last night from Rep. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, who claimed Chisum's support for his own challenge — a challenge he'll continue in spite of the caucus vote.
Chisum's letter follows:
My congratulations to Joe Straus!
It was not easy, but at last the Republicans have met as a unified group. All candidates had their say, and then a solid majority voted to support incumbent Joe Straus for re-election as Speaker of the House.
My campaign for Speaker focused on two main themes. First, that Republicans should honor the will of the voters of Texas. Conservative voters elected a powerful Republican majority, and I wished to insure that the Republican candidate for Speaker was the candidate of a majority of Republicans. The Republican caucus was held and a candidate for Speaker was nominated.
The second issue important to me was to do everything in my power to promote a more conservative agenda in the next Legislature. During the campaign we all heard loud and clear from Texans that they expect the Republican majority to pass a conservative agenda. My colleague, Mr. Straus has promised that he would see the key issues of the conservative agenda come to a vote.
The official election for Speaker should take place on the first day of session, today, January 11. I congratulate my colleague Joe Straus on securing the majority support of Republican legislators. From the beginning of my campaign I promised to honor the majority of the caucus, and I will do so. I am withdrawing my name for Speaker of the House, and will be voting this afternoon for Speaker Straus.
It is an honor and privilege to serve, and I look forward to a very productive session.
Warren Chisum Representative