Well that’s it. There are no other candidates. As I type, the representatives are giving their seconding speeches in favor of Joe Straus, who will be Speaker once again. Ken Paxton pulled out in a speech to members and presumably to his supporters in the galleries, clad in their Paxton for Speaker t-shirts, holding anti-Straus signs. He began by explaining that he’d lost yesterday’s vote in the Republican caucus, and would therefore be pulling out of the race.
It’s a big relief for Republican members, torn between their support for Straus and their Tea Party credibility. Now there will be no record of just who supported Straus and who supported Paxton. Had he forced a vote, Paxton would have lost a lot of friends.
By and large, his speech was positive. He assured supporters that he believed the House would be headed in a conservative direction. “I am encouraged to say that we have not lost the fight,” he explained. He touched on Ronald Reagan and his love for his colleagues before ending on a rather ominous note.
“Be encouraged,” he told his supporters, “but watch what we’re doing … hold us accountable.” From the looks in the gallery, the Tea Party has no intention of doing otherwise.