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House Speaker Joe Straus took less heat. Some brickbats aimed at him sailed wide of the mark. He stuck to his script as an old-style fiscal conservative.
Then he got the heck out of Dallas — mostly unscathed.
The biennial gathering of the Republican Party of Texas has become a minefield for Straus.
Ironically, the San Antonio businessman hails from one of the modern GOP’s oldest families of activists.
In recent years, though, he has become a pariah among many staunch conservatives. Business-oriented and pragmatic, he’s a soft-spoken aberration as smash-mouth politics and culture war tactics hold sway in an increasingly dominant state GOP.
This past week, Straus absorbed a few hits as the party debated its platform and delegates re-elected state GOP chairman Tom Mechler, whom the speaker supported.
Former Harris County Republican chairman Jared Woodfill, Mechler’s unsuccessful challenger, blasted Straus in his campaign literature, accusing him of helping squelch legislation last year that would’ve hurt public employee unions and helping county clerks and justices of the peace resist same-sex marriage on religious grounds.