Seven Republican members of the Texas House issued a joint statement late Thursday claiming Speaker Joe Straus has the support of nearly the entire Republican caucus for the next legislative session.
“Over 80% of the Republican members of the Texas House support the reelection of Speaker Straus and we are among those ranks,” read the letter attributed to Reps. Giovanni Capriglione of Southlake, Myra Crownover of Denton, James Frank of Wichita Falls, Phil King of Weatherford, Tan Parker of Flower Mound, Ron Simmons of Carrollton and Drew Springer of Muenster.
It is the latest salvo in the simmering Speaker's race between Straus and state Rep. Scott Turner, R-Frisco. Turner has said he is intent on having members vote on his campaign for Speaker on the first day of the session in January.
The statement claims that fewer than 20 members of the House are currently backing Turner. Neither Straus nor Turner has released a full list of backers. Springer told the Tribune late Thursday that neither Straus nor his allies have collected pledge cards.
“To my knowledge there is no official list,” Springer said. “That is us talking to the 98 members of the Republican Party.”
In the statement, the representatives list several conservative accomplishments in recent years, including the passage of laws restricting access to abortion and increasing funding for border security.
“Other states long to have Texas' record of legislative success,” the statement reads. “But for this to continue we must work as a Republican team in order to combat the Democrat liberal agenda.”
Capriglione’s name on the statement is notable in that he just announced his support for Straus three days earlier at a Tea Party meeting. Capriglione drew outrage and anger from attendees when he said that “Scott Turner doesn’t stand a chance.”
Three other House Republicans at the meeting, Matt Krause of Fort Worth, Jonathan Stickland of Bedford, and Bill Zedler of Arlington, and state Rep.-elect Tony Tinderholt of Arlington all publicly pledged to support Turner.