There may be three candidates running for House Speaker but there's only two positions: pro-Straus or anti-Straus.
That was the message delivered by state Reps. Ken Paxton of McKinney and Warren Chisum of Tampa Thursday night at an event hosted by the Tarrant County Republican Assembly and the Fort Worth 912 Project. The two men are challenging current House Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio.
“This is not between me and Ken Paxton,” Chisum said. “It’s about unseating Joe Straus.”
The campaign to woo away Straus backers is on and Paxton and Chisum said they needed "the grassroots" to put their plan into action. They called on local activists to call, email, fax and visit with representatives pledged to Straus and urge them to withdraw their pledge. Chisum suggested that people threaten to field a primary opponent against Republican members if they continue to support Straus.
"They don't owe Joe Straus anything," Paxton said. "They owe you."
When asked about them by an attendee, Chisum called allegations that either him or Paxton are “cronies” for former House Speaker Tom Craddick as “red herrings.” He described Craddick as a "rich man" too busy traveling the world to have time to be running two opposition campaigns against Straus behind the scenes.
“Tom’s a great guy," Chisum said. "He will vote for us. He hasn’t funded my campaign. He hasn’t funded Ken’s campaign.”
We've got more details from their joint appearance here.