Republicans in the state legislature are defending a candidate for House Speaker after the state GOP chairman said the party wouldn't support him. Chairman Allen West said Monday the party won't support Rep. Dade Phelan of Beaumont in his bid for the speaker's chair. Phelan's support from Democrats led West to refer to him as a "political traitor." Outgoing Speaker Dennis Bonnen of Lake Jackson disagreed with West's remarks, and so did several GOP House members shortly after West's email. Gov. Greg Abbott congratulated Phelan on Tuesday for securing enough votes to become the next House Speaker.
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