This Republican saved trans rights in Texas. Now he’s retiring & the far right is rejoicing.

Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus AP Photo/Eric Gay, File

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus announced that he will not seek reelection this year.

“I believe that in a representative democracy, those who serve in public office should do so for a time, not for a lifetime,” he wrote in an email. “And so I want you to know that my family and I have decided that I will not run for reelection next year.”

The Republican from San Antonio was key to thwarting an HB2-like bathroom bill this year. The effort to pass it, led by lieutenant governor Dan Patrick, would have forced people to use the bathroom associated with the gender on their birth certificates in public buildings.

Some Republicans opposed the bill arguing that it would hurt Texas’s economy. Straus went further and said that the bill was bad because it was discriminatory.

“I’m disgusted by all this,” Straus said in July. “Tell the lieutenant governor I don’t want the suicide of a single Texan on my hands.”

By August, the bill was dead.

Several conservative extremists celebrated Straus’s announcement. “It’s morning in Texas again!” said far-right Texas representative Matt Schaefer.

Representative and Straus ally John Zerwas already announced his intent to run for speaker, and so has conservative representative Phil King. Others are expected to announce their candidacies soon.

Straus did not say what he plans to do after his term is finished, and he did not rule out a run for governor.

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