WASHINGTON (JTA) — Joe Straus, overwhelmingly reelected speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, strongly repudiated attacks on his Jewish faith.
"Attacks on people’s religious beliefs have no place in this House," Straus, a Republican, said Tuesday after winning the vote 132-15, according to reports filed via Twitter by KPRC, a Houston NBC affiliate.
The KPRC reporter, Mary Benton, said Straus was given a standing ovation.
A small group of backers of his opponents had said that the post should go to a "Christian conservative."
His rivals distanced themselves from such language, saying they were running against Straus because of his relative moderation and not because of his religious beliefs.
Straus won the speakership, considered the state’s second most powerful post, two years ago in part because of his ability to work with Democrats.