Texas House Speaker Joe Straus will run for reelection next year and in 2019 will seek to become the longest-serving leader of the lower chamber in Texas history, Straus spokesman Jason Embry said.
Straus, who won his House seat in 2005 and was elected speaker in 2009, would move past Democrats Gib Lewis and Pete Laney on the all-time list if voters in his northwest San Antonio district send him back to Austin next year and his House colleagues elect him speaker for a sixth term.
Straus’ announcement, which was first reported by the San Antonio Express-News, comes amid a stand-off with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who leads the Senate, that could spill into a special legislative session. Patrick has threatened to force the overtime period if Straus does not produce House votes on bills that would restrict local property tax increases and prohibit transgender Texans from using the bathrooms of their choice. The regular session ends Monday.
Since Patrick was elected in 2014 as a tea party-aligned firebrand conservative, he has served as a foil to the more moderate Straus. Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott have also said they will run for reelection next year, meaning the Republican “big three” of state politics may be returning to their roles next session.
While Straus has never indicated he won’t run for reelection, conservative groups that have tried to unseat him and his top lieutenants in the House have suggested that this is his last term. His announcement will dispel those rumors and could keep House members in line as he navigates the feud with Patrick and the prospect of a special session.