Texas runoff election: Will Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan hang onto his seat?

Will Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan hang onto his seat? And will Gov. Greg Abbott succeed in ousting Republicans who blocked his school choice voucher plan? Those are the big questions on the eve of Tuesday’s primary runoff elections in Texas.

In order to keep his speakership, Phelan first has to win his primary runoff race in his home district Tuesday against GOP challenger David Covey.

"It is a real knife fight there on the coast," said Scott Braddock, editor of quorumreport.com.

Former President Trump has endorsed Covey, and Attorney General Ken Paxton blasted Phelan on social media Monday, exactly one year since the House impeached Paxton, only for him to be acquitted by the Senate.

Paxton posted on X, "One year ago today, Dade Phelan and the Austin establishment thought they could overturn an election and remove their Attorney General from office. Fitting that tomorrow, the vote of his constituents will now finally remove him from office."

But Braddock says early-voting turnout in and around Phelan’s hometown of Beaumont may tell a different story.

"You saw a huge turnout, basically a tidal wave of turnout in the areas that are good for speaker Phelan. In the places that are more hospitable for the challenger, the turnout was not as high," said Braddock. "This might be, and no predictions here, but might be one of those elections that will be a rarity. And that's why the incumbent in a runoff might be able to win."

Phelan is one of eight house Republicans who find themselves in primary runoff races, mostly because Abbott campaigned against them in retaliation for opposing his school choice voucher plan. And the governor’s strategy of attacking them on a totally separate issue, the border, seems to be working.


"It looks like those Republicans who have been targeted by the governor are pretty endangered at this point," said Braddock. "I would not be shocked to see almost all of them, if not all of them, lose on Tuesday."

But perhaps the most powerful factor Tuesday could be former President Donald Trump, who’s taken the unprecedented step of inserting himself in many of these races.

"I talked to voters around the state who had said that they were going to maybe vote for an incumbent Republican, but when Trump endorsed the other person, they would change their mind," said Braddock.

FOX 7 reached out to Phelan’s office for comment, but as of Monday night has not heard back.