Texas House Speaker's Race

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Republican Candidates

Geanie Morrison (R – Victoria)

Trent Ashby (R – Lufkin)

Chris Paddie (R-Marshall)

Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont)

Democratic Candidates

Senfronia Thompson (D – Houston)

Trey Martinez Fischer (D – San Antonio)

Oscar Longoria (D – Mission)

Joe Moody (D – El Paso)

Live updates the Speaker of the Texas House Race:

October 22

First-term Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen announced he will not seek reelection to Texas House District 25 in 2020, sparking immediate discussions around who would run to replace him as the leader of the lower chamber in 2021.

October 23

State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, the longest-serving woman and Black person in the history of the Texas Legislature, files to run for speaker of the Texas House, making her the first to enter what’s been a quiet race so far to replace retiring Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton. 

October 25

Over 40 Members of the Texas House Republican Caucus gather to discuss the speaker’s race in light of the general election. Two primary factions within the Republican House Caucus, identified as “Team Texas” and “Team Bonnen,” emerge as the powerhouses from which initial GOP candidates will be drawn. 

According to reports first published by Texas Scorecard, this meeting is by invitation only, with many in the GOP caucus being excluded.

October 26

Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio) becomes the second candidate, and Democrat, to announce their candidacy for Speaker of the Texas House

October 28

First reported by The Texan, Rep. Kyle Biedermann announces his decision to leave the Texas Freedom Caucus after meeting with 40 other members of the Texas Republican Caucus regarding their appointment for Speaker of the House, stating:

“My goal for the past six months has been to bring the Caucus together and heal the damage caused by Speaker Bonnen and build back the trust that we lost. I believe we need to unite the Caucus in order to choose a Speaker committed to changing the culture of the House…. I feel so strong about the need for open communication and unity that I decided to leave the Freedom Caucus and not have ties to any group.”

On the Democratic side of the isle, members of the Harris County Democratic delegation publish a letter announcing their overwhelming support of Rep. Senfronia Thompson in her run for Speaker of the Texas House. The letter was signed by Reps. Alma Allen (D-Houston), Jarvis Johnson (D-Houston), Gina Calanni (D-Katy), Armando Walle (D-Houston), Jon Rosenthal (D-Houston), Harold Dutton (D-Houston), Gene Wu (D-Houston), Ana Hernandez (D-Houston), Mary Ann Perez (D-Houston), Anna Eastman (D-Houston), Christina Morales (D-Houston), Hubert Vo (D-Houston), Shawn Thierry (D-Houston), and Garnet Coleman (D-Houston). 

October 29

Reps. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall), John Cyrier (R-Lockhart), Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria), and Oscar Longoria (D-Mission) all announce their candidacies for the speakership. 

Meanwhile, The Texas Black Legislative Caucus throws its support behind Thompson, adding Reps. Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth), Barbara Gervin-Hawkins (D-San Antonio), Rhetta Bowers (D-Garland), Sheryl Cole (D-Austin), Joe Deshotel (D-Beaumont), Yvonne Davis (D-Dallas), Ron Reynolds (D-Missouri City), Toni Rose (D-Dallas), and Carl Sherman (D-DeSoto) to her list of supporters. 

October 30

November 1

Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) makes his long-awaited entrance into the speaker’s race. 

November 3

Dennis Bonnen’s speaker pro tempore, Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso), announces his candidacy for Speaker. 

In 2019, Bonnen told the Austin American-Statesman, “I think Texas would be very blessed if there was a Democrat majority and Joe Moody wanted to lead the House,” if Democrats were to take the Texas House in the future.

Genie Morrison announces she will support Ashby in the race, opting to remove herself from the running.

Election Day Results: Texas Democrats needed to pick up a net nine seats to flip the state House of Representatives. Instead, with unofficial results tallied, it appeared Wednesday that Republicans would in fact pick up a seat — increasing their majority in the state House. 

And in the only confirmed seat to flip for Democrats so far, Houston State Rep. Sarah Davis, one of the most moderate members of the Texas GOP, conceded to Democratic challenger Ann Johnson, bringing the net gain for Democrats in the 2020 election cycle to 0.

November 4

At a noontime news conference at the state capitol, State Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) declared himself the new speaker of the Texas House. 

During the press conference, Rep. Phelan claimed he has secured the support of a supermajority of the Republican Caucus as well as a broad coalition of support from the House Democratic Caucus.

Phelan emerged as the frontrunner when Democrats failed in their effort to flip the house in Tuesday’s election. The list of supporters Phelan released Wednesday afternoon via Twitter includes three of the four Democrats — State Reps. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), Oscar Longoria (D-Mission) and Joe Moody (D-El Paso)  — who had planned to run for the position. It also included Chris Paddie, who dropped out earlier that day.

Although it appeared that the Speaker’s race had ended, Ashby put out a statement saying support for his candidacy has “continued to grow over the last 24 hours” and that he hopes “all members of the Republican Caucus will be afforded an opportunity… to vote to back a candidate.” Chairman Huberty also pushes back on the narrative that the speaker’s race is over.

Republican Party of Texas Chair Allen West decries backroom deals in the speaker’s race and calls for the speaker selection to align with the party’s platform planks, which call for a secret ballot election amongst the House Republican Caucus.

Later that evening, in a plot twist, Ashby drops out and backs Morrison, who is running again. She puts out a statement citing her experience as Chairwoman under three Republican speakers will help unify the House.

Phelan announces his support has grown throughout the day to over 90 members.

November 5

Former candidate Senfronia Thompson confirms her support for Dade Phelan on Twitter, as does a mostly women voting bloc in the Democratic caucus, who met with Phelan and were confident he would do more to help women find leadership positions under his speakership.

Phelan announces he has supermajority support (57 Republicans and 49 Democrats).

Then, a meeting organized by Republicans aligned with Ashby and Morrison was held. While not an official caucus meeting, all Republican members were invited.

Breaking: Chair Morrison withdraws from speaker race, clearing the way for Phelan speakership – During an afternoon meeting of some GOP members in Austin, Morrison withdrew. “My team and I are uniting the Republican Caucus with our support of Dade Phelan,” she told Quourm Report.

November 9

Breaking News: In an email to party faithful Monday morning, Texas GOP Party Chair Allen West wrote that the state party will “not support, nor accept” State Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) as the new speaker of the Texas House. 

“Texas does not need a Republican political traitor, not at a time when the two diverging philosophies of governance are this lucid,” West’s Monday morning missive reads.

After quickly cobbling together broad support from both Republicans and Democrats, Phelan has emerged as the heir apparent to the seat being vacated by retiring House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Lake Jackson). 

With Republicans holding the majority in the Texas House, Phelan does not need the support of Democrats to win the speaker’s seat, however, he has indicated a desire to reach across the aisle in hopes of forging a cooperative working environment leading into the 2021 legislative session.

It is Phelan’s association with any Democrats that offends West, calling it “utterly absurd and demonstrably idiotic that any Republican would join with Democrats.”

“The Republican Party of Texas will not sit back idly and watch leftist Democrats be placed as committee chairmen who will undermine, kill, our legislative priorities, as happened in the 86th Texas legislative session,” the chairman added.

“Texas will be led by constitutional conservatives, not middle of the road “road kill” individuals seeking alliance with Marxist, socialist, leftists. We fought hard in the 2020 election cycle — against massive odds and leftist resources — to retain a strong legislative majority.”

West can stomp his feet and complain, but he has no vote on who runs the Texas House.

Texas Speaker's Race Posts

Geanie Morrison  (R – Victoria)

First Elected to the State House of Representatives in 1999, Rep. Geanie Morrison is currently serving her 11th term in the Texas Legislature.

Texas House District 30

 

Legislative Committees Assignments

  • Chair, Local & Consent Calendars Committee
  • Member, Mass Violence Prevention & Community Safety, Select Committee
  • Member, Environmental Regulation Committee
  • Member, Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee

Major Accomplishments and Interesting Facts

  • State Representative Geanie W. Morrison, has served Texas House District 30 for more than 21 years. The  South Texas district includes Aransas, Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Refugio, and Victoria counties. 
  • For the 86th Legislative Session, Representative Morrison was appointed to chair the House Committee on Local and Consent Calendar. Additionally, she serves as a member of the House committee on Culture, Recreation & Tourism and the House Committee on Environmental Regulation, a committee she chaired during the 84th Legislative Session.
  • Prior to running for state Representative, Geanie served on the Governor's staff as the Executive Director of the Governor's Commission for Women that also housed volunteerism. She also served on the Texas Commission for Volunteerism and Community Service and the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, both of which were appointments by then Governor George W. Bush. 
  • As a board member of the Texas Conservative Coalition, Geanie has fought for conservative solutions to improve our state. The Victoria Chamber of Commerce named her Outstanding Citizen of the Year for her tireless efforts to create a strong economic environment, so businesses can create good paying jobs. Representative Morrison has been named Legislator of the Year by the Texas Community College Teachers Association and the Texas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

Trent Ashby (R – Lufkin)

First elected to the State House of Representatives in 2013, Rep. Trent Ashby is currently serving his 4th term as a state legislator.

Texas House District 57

 

Legislative Committees Assignments

  • Member, Defense & Veterans’ Affairs Committee
  • Member, Public Education Committee

Major Accomplishments and Interesting Facts

  • Rep. Trent Ashby represents Texas House District 57 which is comprised of Angelina, Houston, Leon, Madison, San Augustine, and Trinity Counties. 
  • Rep. Ashby was recognized by his colleagues in the Republican Caucus as the Freshman of the Year at the completion of his first session, and was selected after his second session as the Most Valuable Sophomore in the Texas House by Capitol Inside. 
  • Trent has served on the House Administration, Appropriations (as Chairman of the Subcommittee that oversees higher and public education funding), Calendars, Defense & Veterans' Affairs, Public Education, and Natural Resources Committees during his time in Austin.
  • Born and raised on a dairy farm and diversified livestock operation in Rusk County, Ashby is proud of his rural background and upbringing. He is a graduate of Henderson High School and was named one of their distinguished alumnus in 2014. Trent is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a bachelor's degree in Agricultural Economics.
  • While at A&M, he was elected to the Student Senate, Class Treasurer, and Senior Yell Leader. He continues to be involved with his alma mater through the Texas A&M Letterman's Association and Association of Former Students.

Chris Paddie (R-Marshall)

First elected to the State House of Representatives in 2013, Rep. Chris Paddie  is currently serving his 4th term as a state legislator.

Texas House District 9

 

Legislative Committees Assignments

  • Chair, Local & Consent Calendars Committee
  • Member, Mass Violence Prevention & Community Safety, Select Committee
  • Member, Environmental Regulation Committee
  • Member, Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee

Major Accomplishments and Interesting Facts

  • In Marshall, Chris became the general manager of the KMHT radio station and began hosting a weekday morning show called “The Talk of East Texas,” where Chris discussed important local news and issues like infrastructure, public education and crime with public officials in our community. He and his family now run radio stations across three different cities in East Texas.
  • Chris was elected to the Marshall City Commission in 2008, and then went on to serve as Mayor of Marshall, Texas. 
  • Chris is a member of the Texas Conservative Coalition, a vice-chair of the Texas Energy Caucus, vice-chair of the Young Texans Legislative Caucus, a member of the Rural Caucus and the Texas Tourism Caucus.
  • For his work in recent legislative sessions, Chris was honored as a “Courageous Conservative” by the Texas Conservative Coalition and as a “Lone Star Conservative Leader” by the Texas Conservative Roundtable. He was also named as a “Champion of Free Enterprise” by the Texas Association of Business and one of the “Best in the House” by the Combined Law Enforcement Agencies of Texas. Most recently, Chris was named an “Effective Conservative” by the Conservative Roundtable of Texas.

Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) 

First elected to the State House of Representatives in 2015, Rep. Dade Phelan is currently serving his 3rd  term as a state legislator.

Texas House District 21

 

Legislative Committees Assignments

  • Chair, State Affairs Committee
  • Co-Chair, State Water Implementation Fund for Texas Advisory Committee
  • Co-Chair, Texas Infrastructure Resiliency Fund Advisory Committee

Major Accomplishments and Interesting Facts

  • Chairman Dade Phelan was born and raised in Southeast Texas. 
  • His fourth generation commercial real estate development firm owns and manages retail, industrial and office property in Texas and Arkansas. He received his bachelor’s degree in Government and Business from The University of Texas at Austin.
  • Texas Monthly recently recognized Phelan as one of the Best Legislators of 2019.

    in 2015 Capitol Inside Magazine named him one of the most outstanding freshmen and in 2017 honored him again as the Most Valuable Sophomore member of the Legislature.

  • Rep. Phelan has been named Legislative Champion by the Boys and Girls Club of Texas, Legislator of the Year by the Texas Apartment Association, Guardian of Small Business by the National Federation of Independent Business, Most Valuable Legislator by the Texas Association of Community Schools, a Fighter for Free Enterprise by the Texas Association of Business and the 2019 Mental Health Champion by Mental Health America.
  • Rep. Phelan is two time Governor appointee to and former president of the Lower Neches Valley Authority. His board service includes the Texas Lyceum, Southeast Texas CASA, Golden Triangle Coastal Conservation Association, The Jefferson Theater, St. Anne Catholic Church and Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas.

Senfronia Thompson (D - Houston)

First elected into the State House of Representatives in 1972, Rep. Senfronia Thompson is currently serving her 24th term as a State Representative.

Texas House District 141

Legislative Committees Assignments

  • Chair, Public Health Committee
  • Vice Chair, Statewide Health Care Costs Select Committee
  • Member, Licensing & Administrative Procedures Committee
  • Member, Redistricting Committee

Major Accomplishments and Interesting Facts

  • Texas native Senfronia Thompson was born in Booth, Texas and raised in Houston.
  • Known in the Chamber as “Ms. T”, Rep. Thompson represents District 141, which includes Northeast Houston and Humble.
  • As the dean of women legislators in the State House, Rep. Thompson has the distinct honor of being the longest-serving woman and African American in Texas history.
  • A Houston attorney, Rep. Thompson is currently serving her 24th term in the Texas House of Representatives.
  • First member to file for Speaker of the Texas House in 2020.
  • Previously ran for Speaker of the Texas House in 2007, and 2008.

 

Trey Martinez Fischer (D – San Antonio)

First elected to the State House of Representatives in 2000 at 29 years old, Representative Martinez Fischer is currently serving his 9th Legislative Session in the Texas House of Representatives. 

Texas House District 116

 

Legislative Committees Assignments

  • Chair, Business & Industry Committee
  • Member, Ways & Means Committee

 

Major Accomplishments and Interesting Facts

  • First elected at 29 years old, Representative Martinez Fischer is currently serving his 9th Legislative Session in the Texas House of Representatives.
  • Since being elected, he has risen to become the most senior member and Dean of the Bexar County Delegation to the Texas Legislature and the 20th most senior member of the Texas Legislature overall.
  • Rep. Martinez Fischer’s work to improve the economy of San Antonio and his talent for legislating earned him the distinguished recognition of being named one of Texas’s ’20 Latino Political Rising Stars’ and one of the ’20 Latino Democrats to watch over the next 20 years.'
  • That same session he earned the Texas Monthly ‘Bull of the Brazos Award,’ named in honor of legendary Texas Senator Bill Moore and bestowed upon the most effective legislator in Austin. 

Oscar Longoria (D - Session)

First elected into the State House of Representatives in 2013, Rep. Oscar Longoria is currently serving his fourth term in office.

Texas House District 35

 

Legislative Committees Assignments

  • Chair, Appropriations – S/C on Articles I,IV & V Committee
  • Vice Chair, Appropriations Committee
  • Member, Calendars Committee
  • Member, Pensions, Investments & Financial Services Committee

Major Accomplishments and Interesting Facts

  • Rep. Longoria was born in Mission and raised in South Texas. He is a product of the La Joya Independent School District. 
  • In the 86th Legislative session (2019), Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen appointed Representative Oscar Longoria as Vice-Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee for a second consecutive session. 
  • Rep. Longoria had previously been appointed in the 85th Legislative session as Vice-Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee by former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. 
  • In the Fall of 2017, Rep. Longoria was the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award. This recognition is awarded to Texas Exes age 39 and younger who have made significant achievements in their careers and service to the university. 
  • In 2018, Rep. Longoria was awarded the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award by The University of Texas at Austin School of Law.
  • Rep. Longoria has served as Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Articles I, IV, and V, on the Investments & Financial Services Committee and Local & Consent Calendars Committee, as well.

Joe Moody (D – El Paso)

Having been elected to the State House of Representatives in 2013 at the age 27 – Rep. Joe Moody was the youngest serving state representative in Texas history. He is serving his 4th term as a State Representative.

Texas House District 78

 

Legislative Committees Assignments

  • Vice Chair, Calendars Committee
  • Member, Business & Industry Committee
  • Member, Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
  • Member, Redistricting Committee
  • Member, Mass Violence Prevention & Community Safety, Select Committee

 

Major Accomplishments and Interesting Facts

  • Joe Moody represents Texas’s District 78, a mixed urban and rural district covering much of northern El Paso County. He currently serves as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Texas House, as vice chair of the Calendars Committee, and as a member of the committees on Business and Industry, Redistricting, and Criminal Jurisprudence.
  • Joe became actively involved in campaigns at a young age. In 2008, he decided to take on the challenge himself and entered a Texas House race which proved to be one of the most hotly contested statewide. His election at age 27 made him the youngest state representative in Texas.
  • Joe’s work has earned him numerous accolades, including awards from the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, and Equality Texas. He was also named on of Texas Monthly’s top 10 legislators after back to back legislative sessions in 2017 & 2019. 
  • Outside of the Texas Legislature, Joe is an attorney. He served as a prosecutor for many years at the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office before entering private practice.