State Rep. Lyle Larson recently wrote what can only be called a heartfelt op-ed piece commending former Speaker of the House, Joe Straus, for the post of Governor of Texas.
Larson wrote that “leadership is about hope, not fear” and that Texans need “less ego and more humility,” beautiful words for Straus and definitely a harsh punch for Abbott.
The letter goes on to enlist some of Straus’s bigger strengths, including how he helped lay the groundwork for the 2019 transformative public education funding plan and continues to be a strong advocate for the Texas public school system. Straus is also a strong supporter of Medicaid expansion, for he considers it to be a smart business decision for the Texas government.
According to Larson, the 62-year-old Republican wouldn’t have used the Texas legislative staff as a pawn in a political game against Democrats the way Abbott did by vetoing Article X, leaving hundreds of state employees without pay during the legislature.
A government led by Straus “would mean focus on real issues facing Texans without the political nonsense, governance with pragmatism and civility. Straus would consistently do the right thing, rather than governing in fear of losing reelection, something we see far too often in state leadership today,” wrote Larson.
While the letter is written with a lot of hope, it remains unclear how feasible it would be for Straus to actually beat Abbott if he challenges him in the Republican primary or in the general election as an independent. After all, Abbott already has a $55 million war chest for the 2022 reelection run, a sum larger than any other statewide candidate in Texas history, according to the Texas Tribune.
However, Abbott’s approval ratings are the worst they’ve ever been, and more than half the state disapproves of the way he has handled the pandemic. Plus, 52% of Texans think the state is headed in the wrong direction under his leadership.