For most Texans, the 2010 election cycle is in the distant future. Something that can be dealt with down the road.
But campaign season is in full bloom for House Speaker Joe Straus.
Straus may have been an almost accidental speaker during his first term as leader of the House, but the San Antonio lawmaker is methodically toiling to secure his position for the second go-round.
The speaker is spending a lot of time on the road — about 40 travel days in September and October. The trips include more than a dozen fund-raisers for Republican House members who are seeking re-election as well as several for Straus. And more will follow later.
Straus is working hard to help GOP incumbents, but is not working against Democratic incumbents.
“I made it very clear that I would not campaign against incumbents of any party,” he said in an interview this week.
While he got big help from Democrats when he was elected speaker on the strength of a movement against Tom Craddick, maintaining the GOP majority is crucial to his effort to remain speaker of the House.
Straus’ balanced style provides far better leadership than Craddick’s. But make no mistake: He is a life-long Republican.
The 50-year-old Straus snared the top position in the House at an unusually early stage in his legislative career. He won a special election 2005, winning in time to serve part of a legislative session. But the 2007 legislative session was the only one he had experienced from start to finish before he became speaker this year.
“I think I’ve solidified much better relationships with the Republican caucus than when I was elected speaker,” Straus said, adding many members didn’t know what kind of style and approach to expect from him.
At the same time, the speaker is wisely striving to maintain his relationship with Democratic House members.
“I don’t want the Texas House to resemble the U.S. House,” said Straus. “I’m working hard to preserve the history of our institution as being something where bipartisanship can flourish.”
Going into the 2010 election season,
You can read the rest of this article at: http://www.joestraus.org/Speaker Joe Straus/2009/09/24/no-rest-in-off-season