WASHINGTON — Texas' Republican congressional delegation endorsed U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan Thursday for the speakership, giving the Wisconsin lawmaker the largest GOP state voting bloc in the House.
The dean of the delegation, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, announced the decision late Thursday afternoon, stating that Ryan met with the delegation earlier in the day.
"After hearing Chairman Ryan’s presentation, members of the delegation were given time to ask any questions," Barton said. "The delegation then met without Chairman Ryan and reached a consensus to endorse him."
He added that the Texans who were publicly mulling speaker runs — including Reps. Bill Flores, R-Bryan, and Mike Conaway, R-Midland — had "withdrawn their names and will support Chairman Ryan."
“As Ways and Means chairman and Budget chairman, Paul Ryan has demonstrated an ability to lead and work with Texans on those committees and with the Texas delegation as a whole," Barton added. "We expect Chairman Ryan will continue to act in a Texas-friendly manner as speaker of the House.”
Not every Texas Republican signed onto the endorsement, indicative of a remaining fissure in the party. Representatives for U.S. Reps. Louie Gohmert of Tyler and Randy Weber of Friendswood said their bosses are not committed to Ryan.
In Gohmert's case, he will back U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Florida, who is running a longshot campaign for the gavel and has support from the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative group.
One Texan who could particularly benefit from a Ryan ascension? U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands.
The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call named Brady the frontrunner to replace Ryan as the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which dictates tax-writing policy. If Brady is named chairman, 20 percent of Texas' GOP delegation — or seven members — will head committees.
Ryan announced earlier this week he would seek the gavel, but only if House Republicans demonstrated broad support for him. During his deliberations, several Texans mulled runs of their own on the condition Ryan opted against a run.
Flores, for one, said he was excited by Ryan's decision. "It keeps me from having to run," he said. "It's great."