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November 20, 2022      5:15 PM

SB: A symbolic speaker race signaling the 2024 Texas GOP legislative primaries are already underway

There’s always a plot to take down a speaker, no matter who it is. This time the barbarians at the gate include the Republican Party of Texas going up against Speaker Phelan, who spent $5.6 million defending and expanding the Texas House GOP majority

After Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan drew a challenge from Rep. Tony Tinderholt, the Capitol was immediately abuzz about all the personal problems the challenger has had over the years including multiple marriages and various accusations. But that kind of dirt was previously litigated in Tinderholt’s elections for the Arlington House district he represents. It is the kind of sniping that political professionals should expect when a candidate with personal baggage throws his or her hat in the ring.

So, let’s get real about what this is really about: The 2024 GOP primaries.

Allied organizations including the Republican Party of Texas, Defend Texas Liberty PAC, Grassroots America We the People, Texas Scorecard (it’s just Empower Texans under a different name), and others are putting GOP members on notice that “Any GOP Rep. voting for Speaker Phelan next session is voting for Democrats being chairman.” Those are the words of former Rep. Jonathan Stickland, who runs Defend Texas Liberty PAC’s operations on behalf of West Texas megadonors Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks. Stickland added that there will be “accountability.”

For incoming freshmen and even sophomore Republican members, this might sound pretty threatening coming from groups willing and able to deploy millions of dollars against them in primaries. But this has happened before and there are lessons to be learned from those who came before you.

By Scott Braddock

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