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Phelan faces tough battle to retain speakership

A majority of incoming Texas House Republicans are calling for an end to Democratic committee chairs, making the pathway for Dade Phelan’s re-election to the speakership more difficult.

Several Republican House members and nominees have pledged to only support and vote for a speaker that will end the practice of appointing Democratic committee chairs.

“In a collective effort to respond to Republican voters and reform the Texas House, we will only vote for a candidate for speaker pursuant to the Platform and the Caucus By-Laws who will only appoint Republicans as committee chairs,” reads a statement signed by those Republican House members.

Some have pushed back, such as former Republican state legislator Ron Simmons, who argued on X why doing so would be a bad idea.

“Please just acknowledge that you understand that this opens up for the real possibility of a liberal Republican to gather 10-15 similar R’s and all the D’s and be the Speaker. Just admit that you are willing to take this real risk,” Simmons posted on X.

“We’re here for it,” House Republican nominee Mitch Little responded to Simmons. “That will be another 10-15 Republicans back in the workforce, stimulating the economy in 2026.”

Phelan (R-Beaumont) has publicly supported the practice of appointing Democrats to lead key House committees as recently as March.

“It keeps us from being like Washington, D.C., where everything shuts down. We don’t want the chaos that is in Washington, D.C. We want to get things done for the folks here in Texas,” Phelan said in a March appearance on Capital Tonight, reported Spectrum News.

Tarrant County Republican Party chair Bo French said most Republican voters disagree with Phelan.

“The vast majority of Republicans, when asked if a Republican majority legislature should allow Democrats to control committees and kill Republican priorities, wholly reject this. Fifteen incumbents who previously supported this were soundly defeated in the primary,” French told DX.

“This should be a huge wake up call to anyone considering running for speaker to replace the failed policy of Dade Phelan. Texans want our Republican legislature to pass Republican priorities. Period,” French said.

House Republican nominee David Lowe told DX that Phelan had abused his position of power.

“The reasons we need to get rid of Speaker Dade Phelan doesn’t stop at his ambition to continue to surrender Republican control of powerful committees to Democrats. He has a history of using his position to intimidate members and stifle debate and ultimately killing important conservative legislation,” Lowe said.

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