AUSTIN, Texas — A defiant Rep. Dade Phelan celebrated being reelected to represent his southeast Texas district Tuesday night.

What You Need To Know

  • Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan narrowly defeated opponent David Covey in Tuesday's primary runoff election

  • It remains to be seen if he hangs on to his speakership position, however. 

  • Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fought to jettison Phelan

  • Paxton wrote that representatives who support Phelan for speaker in 2025 will not return 

“As the speaker of the House, it will be the same Texas House that it’s been for many, many, many years,” said Phelan.

But his fight to hold on to his other political position isn’t over. His opponent, David Covey, says Phelan’s narrow victory sent a message. 

“Put every elected official on notice that Texas still has a conservative remnant, and we expect our elected officials to act and govern like conservatives,” said Covey. 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton wanted Phelan gone and both claim he used Democrats to steal the election.

“People vote in the elections as a democracy, and they decided to elect me. I don’t know what he’s talking about,” said Phelan.

Paxton still wants revenge after Phelan voted to impeach him last year and threatened that representatives who support Phelan as speaker in 2025 will not return.  

“The attorney general does have some sway with people on the far right,” said James Nelson, a Lamar University professor of political sciences.

At least one House member, Dr. Tom Oliverson, is campaigning to replace Phelan as House speaker next legislative session. In a statement he said he plans to “ensure that Republican members will have the opportunity to declare their preference and cast their vote for the status-quo or a new direction.”

“If the Republicans have a narrow majority after November, it may be very hard for them to get elect somebody different who can only get Republicans votes. They would basically have to have the whole party in unison on nearly all of it,” said Nelson.

Phelan’s staying confident he’ll remain speaker. “I’ve done it twice and I’ll do it a third time,” he said. 

Phelan does not have a Democratic opponent in November so he’ll now turn his campaign focus to House members as he looks for their support to remain speaker next session.