Bonnen has Votes to Become Next Texas House Speaker, Drew Darby Out

 

AUSTIN, TX — Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) has the votes to be the next speaker. He is holding a 3 p.m. press conference today, likely to announce it, said Harvey Kronberg, the publisher of the Quorum Report, and insider news platform about the State government.

Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo), who many here hoped would rise to become the next speaker of the Texas House, confirmed the race was over.

“It’s finished,” Darby stated in a text.

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Above: Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo) speaks at a San Angelo Chamber event. (LIVE! Photo/Matt McDaniel)

This morning, the Quorum Report announced that Texas House Democrats met via a conference call to discuss the Texas House speaker race. As a united body, Democrats possess 67 of the needed 76 votes to elect the next speaker since picking up 12 seats in last Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Meanwhile, the field of six announced candidates narrowed again overnight. Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo) dropped out Sunday. The Quorum Report said this morning that Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) ended his bid for speaker and endorsed Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton). Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford) dropped out, also endorsing Bonnen, Quorum reported.

The declared candidates left include Democrat Eric Johnson of Dallas, and Republicans Bonnen, Travis Clardy of Nacogdoches, and Drew Darby of San Angelo.

All moves for the speakership had been aiming at the Dec. 1 confab of Republican representatives where the Republican Party of Texas hoped the members of the party can decide on one candidate to elect speaker.

If the Republicans could agree, no Democrat votes, or Democrat committee chairmanships as incentives for support, will be needed in horse-trading with Republicans while electing the next speaker.

In a podcast this week, outgoing Speaker Joe Straus told Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith that he predicts the race for speaker will be over before the Dec. 1 meeting of the Republican caucus.

Representative Dennis Bonnen serves the 25th Legislative District that includes southern Brazoria County and all of Matagorda County. First elected to the Legislature in 1996, he begins his 12th term of office in January 2018.

Representative Bonnen was appointed by outgoing Speaker Straus to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore, acting as presiding officer of the House in the Speaker's absence over the past two sessions.  Representative Bonnen also serves as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee with policy oversight of all legislation relating to the state's tax code. Additionally, he is a member of the House Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee where he promotes the natural beauty and tourism opportunities offered by the State of Texas, "while also supporting Texas' rich culture of hunting and fishing," according to his official biography.

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