The Big Conversation:
State Rep. David Simpson may be braving an uphill battle in the speaker's race, but now he's doing so with two more supporters at his side.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that two North Texas Republicans, Rep. Bill Zedler of Arlington and Rep.-elect Matt Krause of Fort Worth, have said they'll vote for Simpson, a conservative Republican from Longview who's challenging incumbent Joe Straus, R-San Antonio.
"I have been working with David Simpson, and I think he'll do a good job," said Zedler, who voted against Straus in 2011. Krause said he had committed to supporting the most conservative candidate in the race, but he added that he had "nothing bad to say" about the speaker. "My vote is more pro-David Simpson — not anti-Joe Straus," Krause said.
Straus, who became speaker in 2009, is still widely expected to keep his job, and has so far dismissed much of the drama surrounding the race. After all, Krause and Zedler only bring the number of declared Simpson supporters to three, out of a 150-member House.
But Simpson's new support highlights the pockets of conservative unrest Straus must contend with, and sheds some light on which other lawmakers may side with Simpson on or before Tuesday, when the election will be held.
Rep.-elect Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, told the Star-Telegram that she hadn't made a final decision but signaled an unwillingness to support Straus.
"My constituents have not been very supportive of Speaker Straus," Klick said. "They feel that things could be run in a more transparent way."
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