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Dade Phelan addresses the floor after being elected for his second term as Speaker of the House on the opening day of the 88th legislature on Jan 10, 2023.
2024 Texas Elections

Texas’ Republican old guard mobilizes to protect Dade Phelan from the far right

Phelan’s primary has emerged as a last stand for the Republican Party’s business-minded establishment against an insurgency primarily motivated by social and cultural issues.

Beaumont, Texas: David Covey talks on the phone in Beaumont on Friday, Jan 26, 2024. Covey is running against House Speaker Dade Phelan in the Republican primary.
State Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, asks Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, to sign a bill on the House floor before budget discussions at the state Capitol on April 6, 2023.

The old guard

Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff and Republican political consultant Karl Rove speaks on a panel at The Texas Tribune Festival in Austin on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.
Former Gov. Rick Perry attends a Get Out the Vote Rally in support of Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan on Thursday, February 29, 2024, in Vidor, Texas. Deep fissures within the Republican Party have placed Phelan as the No. 1 enemy of Texas’ far-right conservatives.

“Fire-breathing” conservatives

Sandi Villarreal, deputy editor for digital at Texas Monthly, moderates a panel with US Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, and former speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus at The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 24, 2022 in Austin, TX.
Tim Dunn, CEO of CrownQuest Operating and chairman of Empower Texans, speaks during The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 24, 2016.
Nick Fuentes (middle) is seen exiting the offices of Pale Horse strategies with Chris Russo, founder and president of Texans for Strong Borders (right) in Fort Worth on Oct. 6, 2023.

“A fundamental shift”

House Democrats including Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer and Rep. Gina Hinojosa, D-Austin, hold a press conference prior to the start of the 3rd-called special session of the 88th Legislature on October 92, 2023.
House Speaker Dade Phelan listens to state Representatives on the House floor during Sine Die, the last day of the 88th Texas Legislative Session, at the Capitol in Austin on May 29, 2023.

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Politics State government 2024 elections Dade Phelan Dennis Bonnen Joe Straus Republican Party Of Texas Tim Dunn