Dade Phelan Gets Brutalized at TX GOP Convention

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick | Image by Texas GOP/Twitter
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick | Image by Texas GOP/Twitter

Embattled Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan was the subject of some friendly fire at the Texas Republican State Convention in San Antonio, with some of his party’s top leaders claiming he has been acting against its members’ interests.

Phelan (R-Beaumont), who was not in attendance after being censured by the party in February, was picked apart by the more right-leaning members speaking at the event this week.

“As lieutenant governor, I do not want to run the House, but I want a conservative Republican to be speaker who will run the House,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told attendees, according to The Texas Tribune.

“I mean, what do you all work for, to let the House be run by Democrats?” Patrick added.

Attorney General Ken Paxton also lambasted the speaker.

“Dade’s plan, and the plan of his Democratic cohorts in the Texas House and the plan of the Biden administration, failed dramatically,” Paxton said, per The Texas Tribune.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Phelan and his allies in the House lodged articles of impeachment against Paxton, which were subsequently rejected by the Texas Senate. The Senate voted to acquit the attorney general on most of the charges and dismissed the rest.

“Now, almost exactly a year later, I am still the Texas attorney general, and Dade Phelan is about to lose not only the speakership but also his House seat,” Paxton said.

Phelan is in a runoff race with challenger David Covey for Texas House District 21 after failing to win the March primary outright.

While Phelan has been under fire for his role in Paxton’s failed impeachment, his lack of support for school choice, and other actions seen as contrary to Texas Republican goals, a major point of contention in the Texas Republican Primary has been his practice of appointing Democrats to chair House committees.

Last year, Phelan defended his appointments of Democrats to the House Committees on Corrections, County Affairs, and Criminal Jurisprudence.

“We still get conservative bills passed,” he claimed, per Texas Scorecard. “We still have those fights Republican versus Democrat, but at the same time, we get our business done in 140 days usually.”

If he manages to beat out Covey in the upcoming election, Phelan, who released his directives to committee chairs earlier this month, may see his position as speaker challenged. Rep. Tom Oliverson (R-Cypress) has launched a campaign for the speakership, of which keeping Republicans in control of committees is a key priority, according to The Texas Tribune.

Phelan’s campaign remains optimistic about having the support of Republican House members.

“Dade Phelan was twice selected by a supermajority of the House Republican Caucus as their candidate for speaker prior to being elected Speaker by the full Texas House,” Cait Wittman, Phelan’s spokesperson, told The Texas Tribune in a statement.

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