Is San Antonio businessman and former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus pondering a return to elective office?
News Radio 1200 WOAI reports Straus has used more than $2 million in contributions to his political campaigns to begin his own Political Action Committee, called 'Texas Forever Forward.'
Straus routinely got under the skin of the social conservatives who dominate the Texas Republican party by standing against measures like the infamous 'bathroom bill,' which sought to dictate which puclic rest room which people would be allowed to use, and he killed the bill in the 2017 session.
University of Houston political analyst Brandon Rottinghaus expects Straus' PAC will support like-minded moderates, and try to make them a stronger voice in Texas politics in the 2020 and 2022 elections.
But Rottinghaus says Straus, 59, who runs an insurance and investment firm in Alamo Heights, could also be considering a return to the political arena.
"People establish these kids of PACs and start to donate money to develop relationships and build bridges," Rottinghaus said. "That is a pretty standard way to lay the groundwork for a run for higher office."
Straus is widely respected in the Texas business community.
He released a statement saying he is starting the PAC because 'I believe the state needs leaders dedicated to creative problem solving to deal with new challenges.'
"This is a way for the former Speaker to stay relevant," Rottinghau said. "If he is able to parlay this into getting some additional attention, it could be that a statewide office isn't out of the question."
Former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson will serve as treasurer of the PAC.
There is specualtion that Straus is considering a 2022 run against his Legislative nemesis, movement conservative Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. There is also talk that Straus is eyeing federal office.