State Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) has been stripped of his position as speaker pro tem in the Texas House following his decision to flee the state in order to stymie the ongoing special session that Gov. Greg Abbott called.
House Speaker Dade Phelan, a Beaumont Republican, announced the removal of Moody as speaker pro tem in a memo Thursday morning before the House was set to return on Thursday. He gave no statement but said the removal was effective immediately.
“The most important titles in my life will never change: Dad, Husband, El Pasoan,” Moody said in a statement. “Nothing political has ever even cracked the top three, so nothing has changed about who I am or what my values are.”
Moody is (or was) one of Speaker Phelan’s closest Democrat allies. Two of the terms he used to describe himself — Dad and husband — are gender-specific terms forbidden by the rules adopted by the Democratic leadership in the United States House of Representatives.
Calls to strip Democrats who fled Texas from their House leadership posts have been growing throughout the week. Texas Republican Party Chairman Matt Rinaldi clarified that yes, leaders appointed to their posts by Speaker Dade Phelan can be stripped of their leadership assignments. Moody is the first Democrat known to be subjected to it. Speaker Phelan did not start small with this move.
Texas Democrats have attempted to leverage favorable media to make their case as to why they should deny the duly-elected House a quorum to vote on the bills Gov. Abbott has placed on the special session agenda per his legal powers under the Texas constitution.
This has already backfired on state Rep. James Talarico (D), who admitted that he opposes voter ID — which about 80% of Texans support. One question that should arise from Talarico’s admission is, do all of the fleeing Texas Democrats agree and oppose voter ID? In Washington DC, to which Talarico, Moody, and the other Democrats fled, Democrat Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina recently said that no Democrat has ever opposed voter ID. That’s clearly not true.
If the national Democrats are now supportive of voter ID, but Texas Democrats such as Talarico are not, then Texas Democrats are to the left of their own national party while attempting to win over voters in a very red state.