State Rep. David Simpson of Longview, a libertarian-leaning Republican who rode to office with heavy Tea Party support two years ago, is considering a run for Texas House speaker, he told The Texas Tribune late Monday night.

“I have not made a decision. People have asked me to run, yes,” Simpson said. “I’m praying about it. And I’ll do the right thing.”

If Simpson files to run for the powerful office he would join incumbent Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, and Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, in that race. Hughes, asked about rumors he might drop out, said he was “in it to win it.”

“I’m going full speed ahead,” Hughes told the Tribune. Hughes said there had been talk of candidates other than himself and Straus for months but “only two have filed.” 

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Texas House members traditionally pick their speaker on the first day of the regular session. Straus, who replaced Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, after an internal GOP shakeup in 2009, is running for a third term as speaker.

Straus came to power with heavy support from Democrats, but after a session with a Republican supermajority in 2011, some are taking a wait-and-see approach entering the session that begins next month. Simpson seemed willing to throw the bedraggled House Democrats a bone, noting that he would favor an even-handed approach, regardless of party, in interpreting the rules.

“I have told people I will vote for the most conservative, liberty-loving candidate on Jan. 8, that has integrity and will enforce the rules, even for the minority,” Simpson said.

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