Republican Brian McCall Not Running for Re-Election

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Before you get your hopes up, House District 66 went +5.4% for McCain. The district was 60.9% for John McCain and 38% for Barack Obama. Over 5 points worse than the state average.

The real reason this is news is because McCall, a moderate Republican and staunch anybody but Tom Craddick leader will not be returning for the 82nd legislature. McCall was a former candidate for Speaker of the Texas House, and along with Jim Pitts, started the momentum to oust Craddick from the dias.

McCall was also one of the key 11 Republicans to put Joe Straus in charge of the more evenly split Texas legislature.  In other words, with McCall gone, Straus may have a more serious challenge to remain Speaker.

As the Texas Tribune write:

He's the chairman of the Calendars Committee that sets the House's daily agenda and decides which bills do and don't come to a vote. And he's a member of the Polo Road Gang, a group of 11 Republicans who met on January 2 at Rep. Byron Cook's Austin house to choose their candidate for speaker. That bloc, combined with most of the House Democrats and some votes picked up later, made Straus the speaker and ousted Midland Republican Tom Craddick from the post.

The political implications are two pronged. One, Straus will have to make some significant gains in the primary to moderate the House and weaken the far right, conservative wing of the party to hold off party infighting and defend his spot as speaker.  Two, this gives Democrats another seat to look out and push on. Yes this is a tough seat to win, but not a harder seat than Democrats have won or defended in the recent past.

All in all, House District 66 could quickly become one of the bell weather races to watch to see how aggressive the Republican Party will be in their traditionally bloody intra-party fights.

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  1. HD66
    I grew up in this district and now live a stones throw from it. The Collin Dems should run someone strong for this district but it will likely go 65-35 Republican. Maybe 60-40 if the GOP fight gets too ugly. This is the affluent west plano seat. Jerry Madden's east plano/richardson based HD67 would be more competitive if he ever left the seat open. Obama received 45% in that district. The GOP will have a ton of candidates running in the 66th, and it will likely be a country club vs fundamentalist fight on that side. Brian is a good guy, relatively moderate and could be looking at a run for congress if Sam Johnson ever retires.

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