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Straus says "decency trumped tribalism" in Roy Moore defeat

House Speaker Joe Straus praised Alabama for rejecting Roy Moore in Tuesday's special election and urged mainstream Texas voters to get involved in 2018 primaries to keep people like Moore out of power.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, gives a lunchtime speech to the Greater Austin Crime Commission on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017.

House Speaker Joe Straus on Wednesday praised Alabamians for voting against Roy Moore, a U.S. Senate candidate accused of inappropriate sexual relationships with numerous underage women — and tied the implications of that vote on Tuesday to next year’s Texas elections.

"Last night in Alabama, something very important happened: Decency trumped tribalism," Straus said before calling on Texas voters to make similar decisions in 2018 races. "If more mainstream voters participate in primaries, there will be fewer Roy Moores in position to hold important offices."

Moore, who lost by a narrow margin in Tuesday’s special election, had become a polarizing figure over the past several weeks. President Donald Trump maintained his support for the embattled candidate through Tuesday’s election, but many Republicans, including both of Texas’ U.S. senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, ended up walking back their endorsements.

Speaking at a Greater Austin Crime Commission luncheon on Wednesday, Straus also called out Congress for its failure to re-authorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers 400,000 children in Texas. He said he has asked state agencies to look into contingency plans for keeping the program afloat if the federal government fails to.

“Everyone at the state Capitol should be sounding the alarm,” he said.

Patrick Svitek contributed to this report.

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