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Speaker Dade Phelan survives runoff as multiple Texas House GOP incumbents lose seats

Speaker Dade Phelan survives runoff as multiple Texas House GOP incumbents lose seats
Speaker Dade Phelan survives runoff as multiple Texas House GOP incumbents lose seats 03:01

NORTH TEXAS — Speaker Dade Phelan looked ahead to the new legislative session at the Texas Capitol beginning in January after he secured his re-election Tuesday night, saying, "I couldn't be more excited about that."

As he declared victory over his Republican primary challenger David Covey, multiple House Republican incumbents from the North Texas region lost their seats.

The challengers will make up a more conservative state House and don't want Phelan to be Speaker, who sets many of the rules and decides who leads committees that impact the bills that are passed.

Phelan defeated Covey after a nasty and the most expensive primary race in the Texas House.

Former President Donald Trump, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and Attorney General Ken Paxton all backed Covey and rallied to remove Phelan from his southeast Texas House seat.    

Beaumont told reporters Tuesday night, "What matters is who lives in House District 21. It matters who lives in Jefferson, Orange, and Jasper County. Folks outside this district can't vote. They can endorse, but they can't vote."

Pierson beat Holland in the runoff for Texas House District 33

In North Texas, Katrina Pierson, the former spokeswoman for former President Donald Trump unseated incumbent Justin Holland in the Republican primary runoff for Texas House District 33 in Rockwall County and parts of Collin County. 

"The Republican grassroots are relevant," she told her supporters.

She was backed by Governor Greg Abbott, the Lt. Governor, and Paxton. 

"We were just so thankful and grateful that the conservatives all over the state united behind my campaign," said Pierson.

Holland is one of eight House Republican incumbents in North Texas who lost either in the primary runoffs or the March 5 primary.

Abbott campaigned only for the candidates who backed his school choice plan, and taxpayer-funded education savings accounts, and the Governor says he now has enough votes to pass it in the House for the first time.

Paxton campaigned against Phelan and the other Republican incumbents who voted to impeach him this time last year. 

Phelan said southeast Texans voted for him again, in part, because he is the Speaker. 

"We have one now and we've had it for the last two sessions and we're going to have it for another session," said Phelan. "So it's very vital to have right here in southeast Texas."

While Phelan expressed confidence he'll become House Speaker again in January, there's already another Republican who says he's going for it.

There could be others too.

Attorney General Paxton issued a statement late Tuesday night warning Republicans in the House: "To those considering supporting Dade Phelan as Speaker in 2025, ask your 15 colleagues who lost re-election how they feel about their decision now. You will not return if you vote for Dade Phelan again."

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