Texas GOP Group Wants ‘More Conservative Candidate’ than Straus

AP Photo/Eric Gay
AP Photo/Eric Gay

The Tarrant County Republican Party (TCGOP) passed a resolution calling for a “more conservative candidate” for Texas House Speaker than incumbent Joe Straus. On Thursday evening, January 8, the resolution was put forth by a 15-member executive committee. It did not specify another candidate by name. The resolution called Conservative Candidate for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives  was one sentence. It reads, “Resolved that the Tarrant County Republican Executive Committee supports a more conservative candidate than Joe Straus for speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.”

Michael Smith, a TCGOP member, attended the meeting to support the resolution. He told Breitbart Texas that there were at least 200 people at this regularly scheduled monthly executive committee meeting. He also said that when the resolution passed, it received enthusiastic applause.

TCGOP Executive Committee Chair Jennifer Hall confirmed 113 precinct chairs attended the resolution vote.

The vote just happened to take place one day after the SMU-held Speaker’s race debate where Rep. Matt Rinaldi (District 115) argued in favor of a Rep. Scott Turner (R-Rockwall) speakership and Rep. Jason Villalba (District 114) stood on the side of the incumbent Straus (R-San Antonio).

Although Rick Rose, Precinct Chair 2468 from Arlington, had hoped for a stronger resolution that named Turner, the TCGOP joined Johnson and Bosque counties in passing a resolution that favored a “more conservative candidate” in its language. Seventeen other counties passed resolutions endorsing Turner.

In a phone conversation after the vote, Rose told Breitbart Texas that the idea of a resolution started at TCGOP’s November meeting.

That same month, Tarrant County Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake) broke ranks with grassroots conservatives to endorse Speaker Straus over Tea Party favorite Turner, which Breitbart Texas reported.

Precinct chairs from Capriglione’s district (HD 98) were among the many who voted to support a more conservative candidate than Straus in the TCGOP resolution, according to Smith’s eyewitness report.

Rep. Matt Krause (HD 93) was not at the meeting but was very excited about the resolution. He spoke to Breitbart Texas on Friday, January 9 regarding the resolution.

“I’m very pleased that my home county got together and voted to express support for the most conservative speaker candidate in the race,” Krause said.

When the news of the resolution passed, Krause posted on Facebook. Subsequently, someone asked him what the resolution accomplished. Krause answered that it gave “the grassroots a voice.”

“The grassroots don’t have a vote for speaker but they let their voice be heard on who they would prefer be their speaker. I think that’s powerful when the grassroots stand up and speak out and say who they feel should be in charge of the People’s House,” he told Breitbart Texas.

Based on what it accomplishes, Krause felt that all these resolutions on the Speaker’s race from around the state have been important.

Breitbart Texas also reached out to Capriglione. He, too, was not at the meeting. There has been fallout with his grassroots constituents who support Turner.

Capriglione told Breitbart Texas, “I strongly believe that Tarrant County has the best and most passionate grassroots activists in the state and I am blessed and thankful for the many friendships I have in the TCGOP. Some of us may have to agree to disagree on the significant conservative legislation passed by the Texas House, which includes some of the most important pro-life laws in the country. It is my understanding that the TCGOP overwhelmingly rejected the idea of endorsing the freshman legislator’s candidacy.”

Capriglione also expressed his optimism for the upcoming legislative session and “supporting the conservative legislation put forward by constituents and our local precinct chairs.”

He did not comment on how the TCGOP resolution was not in favor of Straus.

The official vote for Speaker will be on January 13, 2015.

Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.