Speaker’s Race Hits the GOP Convention
Political party conventions tend to focus on the general election in November. But at the Texas Republican convention in Fort Worth, there’s plenty of focus on a specific election that’s not happening until January and won’t be decided at the ballot box.
The Texas House starts every session by picking a speaker to lead the body. San Antonio Representative Joe Straus has held the position for the last two sessions. And he’d like to keep the job for the 2013 session. But he’s already got one challenger.
“We often talk about the grass roots man, this is it! This is it,” Mineola Representative Bryan Hughes said.
Hughes says he want to use that grassroots/delegate enthusiasm to get his name out and gain some allies. But he also wants to know what they expect in a conservative speaker.
“The main thing that I’m doing here is connecting with folks and hearing what’s important to them. They have questions for me about what I’d like the house to look like and how I’d like it to operate and so it’s a great chance for me to communicate with them,” Hughes said.
The delegates at the convention can’t vote, but they certainly can call their state representative and tell them who they would like to see as speaker. And Hughes isn’t the only one who wants to see someone else running the show.
Along with his “Hughes for Speaker” stickers floating around the convention floor, there are also several “Oust Straus” stickers. The large, rectangular stickers feature a cartoon with Straus as a donkey and uses the President Obama “O” logo in Oust.
Michael Quinn Sullivan didn’t print the sticker but he and his group, Empower Texans, are considered by some to be the face of the “Oust Straus” movement.
“We have made it very clear that we thought there were a lot of things that should have been done, with a super-majority of Republicans, that wasn’t even attempted. That’s many things, but it’s not leadership,” Sullivan said.
And at a convention where the attendees are generally culled from the most conservative branch of the GOP, there’s a good-sized crowd that agrees with Sullivan and wants a new speaker.
Bryan Hughes hopes to meet as many of those people as possible…maybe convince them to call their local rep and push them to pick a new speaker. Those disgruntled delegates will also have a chance to voice any displeasure to Straus personally. The house speaker is slated to address the convention this afternoon.