AUSTIN, Texas -- Tea party-backed state Rep. David Simpson says he's running for Texas House speaker while another conservative favorite, state Rep. Bryan Hughes, is abandoning his bid for the post.
Simpson, a second-term Republican from Longview, had said previously he wasn't interested in challenging fellow Republican Joe Straus of San Antonio for the speakership.
But he announced Monday that he had been urged to run and decided to do so "after much prayer, consideration and counsel."
Simpson caused a stir last year by sponsoring legislation to criminalize excessive touching during airport security pat-downs.
Straus has been speaker since 2009 but has been criticized by the far-right for being too moderate.
Hughes, a Republican from Mineola, announced months ago that he would challenge Straus. But he released a statement Monday endorsing Simpson.