Aug 24, 2017
As Hurricane Harvey approached landfall, gale-force political winds continued to howl in Austin as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick continued criticizing House Speaker Joe Straus over the death of property-tax reform in the special legislative session.
In a series of interviews since the 30-day summer session concluded a week ago, Patrick has labeled Straus "a quitter" for not letting the bill pass the House, even to the point of suggesting Straus should get the boot as speaker.
He continues to call Straus a "big-spending liberal Republican."
For his part, the speaker has been silent, apparently having moved on after some acrimonious exchanges with his rival in recent weeks.
It is rare for a lieutenant governor -- and governor, for that matter -- to be as critical of a speaker as Texas' No. 1 and 2 officials have been of Straus.
Make no mistake: The unpleasantness of the special session is as much about the Republican primary election next March as it was about any legislation that did or did not get passed.
Patrick and Abbott want new leadership in the House. The House seems content with keeping Straus.
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