Rep. Smithee Drops Out of Speaker's Race

It's been a roller coast ride since Saturday in the race to become the next Texas Speaker of the House.

Amarillo Representative John Smithee has dropped out of the race, after declaring to run late Sunday night.

Current Speaker Tom Craddick dropped out of the race on Sunday and that's when Smithee threw his hat in the ring.

But Monday Rep. Joe Straus declared he had over 90 votes already. Only 76 are required to win the position.

Rep. Dan Gattis also dropped out and in a joint statement with Rep. Smithee they said:

"It has become apparent in the last 12 hours that Rep. Straus carries enough votes to become the next speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, and that any efforts to challenge him is not in the best interest of the Texas House. As a result, we are both withdrawing our candidacies for speaker. Our priority is to take the focus off speaker politics and concentrate on how we can best serve the people of Texas in the 81st Legislature."

The vote for the next speaker takes place January 13th, the same day the 81st legislature officially begins.