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Texas House unanimously elects Joe Straus for record-tying fifth term as Speaker

By Alexa Ura

For the first time since he was elected House Speaker in 2009, Joe Straus walked into the lower chamber on Tuesday without a clear leadership challenger.

And with last session’s contested vote for Speaker behind him, Straus was re-elected unanimously by House members on the opening day of the 85th Legislature for a record-tying fifth term. He joins former House Speakers Pete Laney and Gib Lewis for the longest tenures presiding over the House.

Straus’ easy re-election this year was a departure from 2015 when he faced a Tea Party challenger who forced the first contested vote for Speaker since 1975. All but 19 House members voted for Straus.

Straus has long been criticized by some in his party as being too moderate and he’s faced primary challenges from Tea Party candidates. But he’s easily held onto his San Antonio-based seat and has maintained bipartisan support for his leadership position.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune. 

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