Oliverson Could Have Short Run
as Caucus Chair Before Election

Capitol Inside
April 1, 2024

Texas House Republicans could have another month for bloodletting in their ranks before a party caucus election that Speaker Dade Phelan and his allies appear to be orchestrating to prevent the permanent ascension of State Rep. Tom Oliverson of Cypress to the chairmanship.

The House GOP Caucus expects to have an opening for chair on Wednesday based on State Rep. Craig Goldman's apparent timetable for an impending departure as its current leader. Goldman is the GOP nominee for the Congressional District 12 seat in the November general election.

Oliverson - as the caucus vice chairman - would move into the group's top job when Goldman's resignation from the leadership post takes effect. In the absence of a chairman's election, Oliverson would lead the caucus for the rest of the current election year before a biennial vote for new officers at some point next year.

But Phelan's team wants to keep that from happening in light of Oliverson's decision two weeks ago to run for speaker in 2025 when the current incumbent may or may not be back depending on the results of a primary runoff duel with David Covey in House District 21. But caucus bylaws require the members to wait 30 days before a vote on a new chair.

State Rep. Jared Patterson of Frisco emerged during the weekend as the apparent Phelan choice for caucus chairman after indicating his intent to seek the post in the midst of speculation during the weekend on a Goldman exit.

Oliverson would be running as the incumbent caucus boss in a contest that could be a sneak preview of a speaker's fight in the making if Phelan loses to Covey in overtime in a race that the challenger led by 3 points in the March 5 primary election. Patterson could be in line to take the torch for Phelan in a clash with Oliverson in the speaker's election at the outset of the regular session in January.

The caucus converged on the Dallas-Fort Worth area on Monday for a gathering that features a golf tournament in Frisco on Tuesday. But the Republican Caucus has become increasingly irrelevant during more than 20 years of GOP rule in the Legislature's lower chamber. That could change amid the current environment that's toxic in the wake of a primary election that was a historically expensive purge.



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