Field of candidates narrows to one

Eight members of the Texas Legislature filed papers with the Texas Ethics Commission to declare themselves candidates for speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, and as of last week, only one remained.The candidacy of state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, gained momentum in October, and Bonnen on Nov. 13 announced he had the support of 109 members of the 150-member House. At minimum, it takes 76 votes to elect a speaker, which is 50 percent, plus one, of the 150 members of the House. The other candidates for the speakership who withdrew from the race include: Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, vice chairman of the House Committee on Local and Consent Calendars; Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, chairman of the House Energy Resources Committee; Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, vice chair of the House Redistricting Committee; Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, chairman of the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee; Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound, chairman of the House Investments and Financial Services Committee; Rep. Walter “Four” Price, R-Amarillo, chairman of the House Public Health Committee; and Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.Bonnen, 46, first was elected to represent House District 25 in 1997. The district includes Matagorda County and part of Brazoria County. Bonnen currently is chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee and serves as speaker pro tempore of the House. The first order of business for the House when the 86th Texas Legislature convenes on Jan. 8 is the election of the speaker, who will succeed Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio. Straus chose not to seek re-election and is finishing a record fifth consecutive term as speaker.McCall to lead transition


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