Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Trump-backed David Covey loses to Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan in GOP runoff

By 37ci3 May29,2024

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan shot down a challenge Tuesday from a conservative activist backed by former President Donald Trump and state Attorney General Ken Paxton after a tough GOP primary.

According to The Associated Press, Phelan defeated David Covey in the primary runoff by just 366 votes, 50.7% to 49.3%. Covey received 46% of the vote in the March primary to Phelan’s 43%, but neither managed to get 50%, so they advanced to a runoff.

“Tonight, I am extremely grateful to the voters of Southeast Texas who spoke loud and clear: In Southeast Texas, we have set our course — our community is not for sale and our values ​​are not for auction,” Phelan wrote. In an article on X on tuesday night.

The results are a victory for the establishment wing of the Texas GOP after Phelan and other state Republican lawmakers were targeted for their roles in impeachment efforts against Paxton last year.

Phelan oversaw proceedings in the State House that voted to impeach Paxton on corruption charges. The state Senate ultimately declined to impeach and impeach him.

This will not be Fela’s last political battle as a Republican is sure to encounter a problem to his eloquence. One Statement on Tuesday nightPaxton said lawmakers who voted for Phelan to be speaker in 2025 “aren’t coming back.”

Paxton also called on Texas Republicans to close their primaries after Phelan’s victory so that only registered members of the party can participate. Currently, primaries in Texas are open to all voters, regardless of party affiliation.

Phelan was the most prominent of the eight Texas GOP state House members who were forced into a runoff two months ago after losing nine primaries outright. Many also suffered defeats by Paxton or Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott as they opposed the school voucher program, exposing deep fissures within the party in a traditional Republican stronghold.

First elected in 2014 and speaker in 2021, Phelan has perhaps the most politically dangerous job in Texas. Speakers are elected by their districts and the 150 members of the Texas House of Representatives. That means a Republican like Phelan must convince both his Democratic colleagues and conservative primary voters in his district to re-elect him every two years.

His tenuous balancing act in the chamber was reversed last year when he oversaw Paxton’s impeachment and sat with the prosecution in the subsequent trial.

Paxton, a staunch Trump ally, campaigned against Phelan and dozens of other GOP incumbents before this year’s election, vowing to retaliate against those who tried to oust him from office. the old guard – including former governor Rick Perry – have come out in support of Fela. Abbott abstained in the primary.

About $7 million was spent in the state House district in 2023 and 2024, with Phelan’s campaign spending $3 million and Covey’s campaign spending just over half that.

Outside groups tried to close the gap on Covey’s behalf: The Club for Growth spent $1.1 million to support Covey, while the School Freedom Foundation spent more than $376,000 targeting Phelan, who oversaw the House defeat of the Abbott-promoted school voucher program.

Meanwhile, Trump kept up the pressure late in the race, nominating Covey at the National Rifle Association convention in Dallas this month and touting his endorsement on social media.

“David is fighting your House Speaker very seriously,” Trump said at the NRA meeting. “We need to get your speaker out so we can go to voter fraud.”

Democrats are hoping GOP infighting will provide them with an opening. National Democratic super PAC Forward Majority plans to spend More than $2 million in Texas races this year aimed at reducing the Republican lead in the House.

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By 37ci3

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