State Rep. Dade Phelan files to run for Texas House speaker

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At right, Chairman Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, listens to testimonies during a State Affairs committee hearing on Feb. 27, 2019 Credit: Emree Weaver/The Texas Tribune

State Rep. Dade Phelan, a Beaumont Republican, filed Sunday evening to run for Texas House speaker, he confirmed to The Texas Tribune.

Phelan is the seventh candidate in a race that already includes three Republicans and three Democrats. And it comes ahead of an Election Day that could involve Democrats flipping the lower chamber for the first time in nearly two decades.

Phelan's filing comes after a group of House Republicans gathered Sunday afternoon and picked the lawmaker as their preferred speaker candidate, according to multiple people familiar with the meeting. During that hours-long meeting, some members expressed concern over holding a vote on a speaker candidate before each party knows the partisan breakdown in the 150-member House. House members will vote on the next speaker on the first day of the 87th legislative session in January.

Phelan, who has served in the lower chamber since 2015, chairs the powerful House State Affairs Committee.