State Rep. Shelby Slawson says she’s running for House speaker in letter condemning Phelan

The announcement came two days after Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, narrowly survived a runoff challenge from the GOP’s hard right.

State Rep. Shelby Slawson says she’s running for House speaker in letter condemning Phelan

State Rep. Shelby Slawson announced Thursday she is running for Texas House speaker, becoming the second member to challenge the chamber’s current leader, Dade Phelan, for control of the gavel.

Slawson, R-Stephenville, launched her candidacy in a letter to fellow House Republicans, telling them she began last year’s session as a supporter of Phelan, only to grow “deeply disappointed in the mismanagement” of Phelan and his inner circle that, she said, “continually overshadows our wins and puts us at odds with our grassroots supporters, other electeds, and our own members.”

The announcement came two days after Phelan, R-Beaumont, narrowly survived a runoff challenge from the GOP’s hard right, led by his top two political rivals, ​​Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton. Phelan told supporters Tuesday evening he intended to seek another term as speaker when the House reconvenes next January.

Slawson, a 47-year-old attorney, is in her second term serving in the lower chamber. She joins state Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, who was the first to announce a challenge to Phelan. Oliverson, also a former Phelan ally, responded positively to Slawson’s announcement.

“I welcome another reformer into the race for Speaker of the Texas House and applaud [Slawson] for her honest appraisal of the status quo, and optimism for the future,” Oliverson posted on social media. “The movement is growing!”

We’ve added new speakers to the stellar lineup of leaders, lawmakers and newsmakers hitting the stage at The Texas Tribune Festival, happening Sept. 5–7 in downtown Austin. Get an up-close look at today’s biggest issues at Texas’ breakout politics and policy event!

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