State Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, filed on Friday to run for speaker of the Texas House.
"After prayerful consideration, discussions with my family, and at the urging of my House colleagues, today I filed paperwork with the Texas Ethics Commission to start a speaker campaign for the 86th Legislative Session," Darby said in an emailed statement. "In the coming weeks, I plan to visit with every House member to discuss the priorities of their district and how the Texas House of Representatives can work together to put forward good policies to keep Texas the number one state to live, work and raise a family."
Darby, who’s been in the House since 2007, joins four other Republicans in vying for the top slot in the lower chamber: state Reps. Tan Parker of Flower Mound, Phil King of Weatherford, Travis Clardy of Nacogdoches and John Zerwas of Richmond. Dallas Democrat Eric Johnson has also declared he is running.
Darby represents House District 72 — a chunk of land in West Texas that includes Coke, Concho and Howard counties. He chairs the House Energy Resources Committee and the House Select Committee on State and Federal Power and Responsibility.
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Straus is departing after a record-tying five terms as speaker, and at least several more contenders are expected to enter the race.
When the Texas House convenes for its legislative session in January, picking the next House speaker will be one of its first acts. Ahead of the vote from the full chamber, House Republicans last year agreed to hold a non-binding vote to pick a speaker candidate within the GOP caucus. And ahead of this year's primaries, the Republican Party of Texas urged candidates and incumbents running for House seats to sign a form pledging to back whomever the caucus picks as their speaker candidate. Parker and King have signed the form, while Darby, Clardy and Zerwas have not.
Zerwas told The Texas Tribune in November he wants "to have a more in-depth conversation" with the caucus before he decides on whether to sign it.
Alex Samuels contributed reporting.