SAN ANTONIO – If Democrats can win the Texas House of Representatives in November, San Antonio native and District 116 Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer hopes to become the first Latino Speaker of the House in the state’s history.
Martinez Fischer announced the bid Monday in a statement.
“We are on the verge of winning a Democratic majority for the first time in almost two decades,” Martinez Fischer said. “It is time to begin a new chapter in our state’s history by electing a Democratic House Speaker.”
Before getting to that point, Texas Democrats would need to pick up nine more seats in the 2020 election.
If Democrats are able to win the House, they’d have more say in next year’s redistricting process, which could lead to significant changes in the state’s political makeup.
Democrats are eyeing roughly 20 GOP-held seats that could potentially flip, according to the Texas Tribune. They must also defend 12 seats picked up in 2018 that could toss back to Republicans.
The most competitive house race in the San Antonio area is House District 121 - former Speaker Joe Straus' former district. This year, Democratic candidate Celina Montoya is rematching incumbent Republican Rep. Steve Allison for the North Side seat.
Most Republican incumbents have the fundraising advantage, but 10 Republicans in the Texas House were recently outraised by their Democratic opponents.
If Democrats do win the majority in the house, Martinez Fischer will have to vie against District 141 Rep. Senfronia Thompson, a Houston Democrat who is the longest-serving woman and Black person in the Legislature’s history. Other Democrats would likely file to run for speaker after the election.
Martinez Fischer said he admires Thompson and welcomes “constructive debate” that will come from the race for Texas Speaker of the House.
“I look forward to the conversation with my colleagues both current and future over the coming days," Martinez Fischer said.
Even if Democrats do not take the majority, the state will have a new speaker after Dennis Bonnen announced his decision not to seek reelection after a controversial comments he made that were recorded.
Each of the 150 state Rep.'s vote for the lower chamber’s Speaker at the beginning of each legislative session. The position is the third-in-charge in Texas, behind governor and lieutenant governor, both of which are elected by statewide voters.
Martinez Fischer held his House Rep. seat between 2000 and 2017. After an unsuccessful bid for a seat on the Texas Senate, he returned to the seat after being elected to it in 2018.