Rep. Dennis Bonnen gains support in Texas House Speaker race
AUSTIN — Republican Rep. Dennis Bonnen, who is gaining support as he vies for the most powerful position in the Texas House, plans to make “an important announcement” about his candidacy Monday afternoon as several contenders drop out of the race.
Bonnen’s 3 p.m. announcement comes as three other Republican candidates have announced since Sunday that they’re no longer running to be the next House Speaker: Reps. Four Price of Amarillo, Phil King of Weatherford and Tan Parker of Flower Mound, are all out, according to the Texas Tribune. Rep. John Zerwas of Richmond dropped out in October.
Another hopeful who is dropping out of the race is Rep. Eric Johnson, a Dallas Democrat and attorney, who announced Monday afternoon he would support Bonnen for the job. Johnson was the only Democrat in the race and his endorsement could hint that the minority party — which needs just nine Republican votes to elect a speaker of its choosing — could throw their support behind Bonnen.
Remaining in the race are Republican Reps. Bonnen of Angleton, Travis Clardy of Nacogdoches and Drew Darby of San Angelo.
The vacancy comes as the Republican-led House seeks to replace Speaker Joe Straus, who did not run for re-election this year. The speaker sets the pace, tone and direction of the House, namely through appointing fellow members to key legislative committees that will vet hundreds of bills during the legislative session that begins in January.
Bonnen has served in the Texas House for more than 20 years and was a top lieutenant for Straus, who opted not to run for re-election this year.