Texas House Speaker Joe Straus announces he will not seek re-election

Chase Karacostas

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus announced Wednesday morning he would not be running for re-election in 2018.

"I believe that in a representative democracy, those who serve in public office should do so for a time, not for a lifetime,” said Straus, R-San Antonio, in an emailed announcement. “And so I want you to know that my family and I have decided that I will not run for re-election next year.

Straus spent five terms — a record — as House Speaker. His decision means the House will have a new speaker next session, and Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, declared just hours after Straus’ announcement that he would be running for the position.

Talking with several reporters after issuing his announcement, Straus emphasized bipartisanship and said when the Texas House is at its best, Washington could “learn a real lesson,” according to a Texas Tribune video on Twitter.

“I try to bring people together,” Straus said. “I do make no apology about working across party lines. I think we do our best work when we do that.”

Straus also told reporters today was more of an announcement of what he will no longer be doing than what he plans to do in the future. Regardless, Straus said he had not completely ruled out the possibility of a run for governor.

“What’s in the future for me? I don’t know,” Straus said. “I do plan to be engaged. I do plan to be an active voice and find other ways to serve my state.”

In a short statement this morning, Gov. Greg Abbott thanked Straus for his service in the House and commitment to the state.

“Joe Straus has served with distinction for both the people in his district and for the Texas House of Representatives,” Gov. Abbott said. “Cecilia and I wish Joe and Julie all the best.”