Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Republicans recently doubled their majority in the Texas House of Representatives. The Austin American-Statesman explains:
State Rep. Chuck Hopson switched parties Friday and became a Republican, landing a potentially crushing blow to Democrats' hopes of retaking control of the Texas House.
The fifth-term lawmaker from Jacksonville said in a written statement that President Barack Obama and other Democrats in Washington do not reflect the values and concerns of his district. But critics said the switch was a calculated effort to hang on to a conservative district that he barely retained last year.
Whatever the motivation, the real winner in Hopson's defection may prove to be Republican House Speaker Joe Straus. Before Hopson's move, Republicans held a 76-74 majority in the House, and the party needs to keep a majority for Straus to stay at the helm.
While Democrats' chances in the Texas governor's race look brighter to me than they did, say, six months ago, the House of Representatives remains the party's best hope for regaining a measure of power in the state. And, given that Republicans retained their edge by one seat last year, it's clear that one seat can make a difference.
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