Now House Speaker Joe Straus has two opponents to worry about.
State Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, jumped into the 2013 race for speaker Tuesday, filing papers with the Texas Ethics Commission declaring his candidacy.
Straus, R-San Antonio, faces an opponent in the Republican primary — Matt Beebe — and then the winner will face Libertarian Arthur Thomas IV in the general election. Assuming he wins those, Straus will be seeking a third term as speaker when the Legislature convenes in January.
Until Hughes filed, no opponents had emerged. Straus had a serious challenge in 2011 from Reps. Ken Paxton and Warren Chisum, but both dropped their bids before the session started, as it became apparent Straus had the support needed to win. Now Paxton is running for state Senate, and Chisum is running for the Texas Railroad Commission; neither will be back next year to renew the challenge.
Hughes, first elected in 2002, wasn't immediately available for comment. According to his filing, he hand-delivered the papers on Saturday and the Ethics Commission processed them after the Memorial Day break. He sent a memo to his colleagues Tuesday morning telling them he's a candidate.
In it, he didn't offer many details:
Dear Fellow Member of the House,
I am writing to let you know that I have filed a Declaration of Intent to run for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives for the 83rd Legislature. It is important to me that you know about this before it’s made public.
In the coming days I look forward to visiting with you about our shared vision for the House.
In the meantime, please let me know if you have any questions for me, or if I can be of any help to you.
Sincerely, Bryan Hughes