Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan survives primary challenge

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan survived a challenge from within his own party in one of the most-watched races of the primary season.

Phelan defeated challenger David Covey, who was backed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and former President Donald Trump, in the District 21 runoff race in Southeast Texas.

Just after 9 p.m. Tuesday, Phelan declared victory, telling his supporters, "House District 21 is not for sale."

Paxton quickly reacted to the news, claiming "Democrats just reelected Dade Phelan. We must close our primaries. Now."

Phelan, a two-term incumbent, is at the center of the Texas Republican Party's civil war.

AUSTIN, TX - JULY 08: Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, gavels in the 87th Legislatures special session in the House chamber at the State Capitol on July 8, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott called the legislature i

Paxton has been highly critical of him since being impeached by the House.

Phelan has defended that impeachment despite the Senate's eventual acquittal of Paxton.

Covey, who worked in the oil and gas industry, called the effort to impeach Paxton an "absolute embarrassment."

Paxton also accused Phelan of being drunk on the House floor.

And, the House Speaker butted heads with Lt. Gov. Patrick over how to cut property taxes in the state.

Phelan was backed by several establishment Republicans, including former governor Rick Perry.

There are no primary candidates running for the Democrats in District 21, meaning Phelan will be elected to another term.

It is yet to be seen if Phelan will have the votes required to maintain his role as House Speaker.