AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Over the weekend, the state Republican executive committee passed a resolution calling for Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan to resign from his leadership role over his “yea” vote on the articles of impeachment against Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The Texas GOP executive committee, which consists of 64 elected members, voted on the resolution Friday with accusations that Phelan “pressured other members” to vote to impeach through his leadership team “despite the weakness of the case.”
The Texas GOP does not have any ability or power to make decisions on behalf of the Legislature, but frequently makes requests for its fellow Republicans. Vacating a House Speaker from the chair is rare, and state representatives would not be able to do so until the next regular legislative session in 2025.
The most recent overthrow in Texas history was in 2009, when Democrats and a number of Republicans went up against Republican Speaker Tom Craddick, replacing him with Joe Straus as House Speaker.
Hardline conservatives who support Paxton have been vocal about their opposition to the lower chamber’s process since the Republican-led House overwhelmingly approved 20 articles of impeachment against the attorney general on May 27. As speaker, Phelan typically votes present/not voting on legislation or resolutions. However, the Beaumont Republican made his position on the matter clear in the historic 121-23 vote.
The committee is also asking members of the House to vacate the speaker’s chair if Phelan does not resign. SREC members additionally listed old grievances with the second-term speaker — like Phelan’s decision to appoint some Democratic members as committee chairs, and the party’s belief that he “ignored or actively undermined several GOP priorities during the regular session.”
A spokesperson for Phelan’s office told Nexstar they are not providing comment on the matter at this time.
Criticism of both chamber leaders from all sides
It comes as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is also flanked with critcism for the Senate’s decision to acquit Paxton on all impeachment counts after a nine day trial.
Before the trial began, Patrick accepted $3 million in a campaign contribution from a conservative political action committee called Defend Texas Liberty. The PAC supported Paxton before and throughout the trial, at times sending GOP voters text messages asking them to call their elected representatives to urge them to support Paxton.
Patrick has defended the Senate trial and verdict in numerous statements, as well as in a one-on-one interview with Nexstar.
“No one who gets a campaign donation, that that impacts how they vote on something, you know, there is a certain level of integrity,” Patrick told Nexstar. “Something else that didn’t impact [senators], on all the noise on the outside.”
On Sunday, the lieutenant governor released interview-style videos from some Republican state senators who refuted claims that Patrick tried to influence their vote as jurors.