Will Texas House Lurch Further to the Right With Straus Gone?

AUSTIN -- Speaker Joe Straus' decision to give up one of state government's most powerful posts adds to the intensity of what already was shaping up as fierce combat in Texas House primaries in March.Straus' exit has demoralized business and trade association executives who prize predictability -- and liked his governing style, according to several close observers of the Legislature.It's opened up the possibility of a far more conservative House, especially as center-right Republicans face a more uphill challenge. Next year's GOP primary election is expected to be a lower-turnout affair than last year's. Then, amid a spirited presidential contest that stoked voter interest, Team Straus virtually ran the table in closely contested Republican House races.Next year's GOP primaries are just taking shape. They now have new urgency, and that's even as they're likely to be more dominated by the most reliably Republican voters, who tend to be the most conservative, said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones.  Continue reading...

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