A new poll suggests Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) is facing some blowback from Republican voters in his home district following his actions during the 2023 state legislative session.
Defend Texas Liberty PAC polled 403 registered voters in Phelan’s House District 21, which includes southeastern Texas and Beaumont. The poll found that 48% of respondents wanted to vote for a “more conservative candidate” in the next election cycle. Only 24% of respondents said they would vote to re-elect Speaker Phelan.
Phelan has faced criticism from grassroots conservative Republicans for what many consider a disappointing legislative session. Critics chided Phelan for failing to deliver school choice or a substantive border plan. He was also criticized for appointing Democrats to powerful committee chairmanships.
Texans for Strong Borders, an organization that advocates for enhanced border security measures to combat the ongoing unlawful migration crisis, released a statement applauding Gov. Greg Abbott for calling a special legislative session to take up border security initiatives.
“Texas is under invasion and millions of illegal aliens have crossed the Texas Border and entered our state illegally since President Joe Biden took office. Despite this, the Texas Legislature failed to pass any meaningful border security legislation in the regular session,” said Chris Russo, president of Texans for Strong Borders.
Phelan was also recently caught slurring his words on the House floor, purportedly due to drinking too much alcohol.
Anyone who watches the #txlege House knows many of the members are regularly intoxicated.
Watching the Speaker be this wasted is absolutely unacceptable.
These Representatives are making laws that impact 30 million Texans. It must stop.pic.twitter.com/ETYH1sue9j
— Jonathan Stickland (@RepStickland) May 21, 2023
The poll was conducted before Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment in the House, which Phelan presided over. The proceedings garnered criticism from prominent Republicans like U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and former President Donald Trump.
Further complicating Phelan’s position is a recent spat with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who accused Phelan of walking out of a meeting with himself and Abbott after negotiations around proposed property tax cuts floundered.
“Speaker @DadePhelan left a meeting in a huff with @GovAbbott and me last night, killing the largest property tax cut in history by demanding an appraisal cap for business commercial properties that most business associations don’t even want,” tweeted Patrick.
The Republican primary for Phelan’s seat is scheduled for March 5, 2024. There are currently no announced primary challengers.