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Texas: Jewish House Speaker Re-elected Despite Smears

Tea Party rivals of Texas State Representative Joe Straus (R) stressed his Judaism.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 1/12/2011, 10:28 PM / Last Update: 1/12/2011, 11:46 PM

Tea Party opponents of Texas State Republican Representative Joe Straus fought unsuccessfully against his re-election to the position of Speaker of the House with an anti-Semitic campaign, FightHatred.com reported Wednesday.

The rivals stressed Straus' Judaism, ascribing negative stereotypes to him, while calling on fellow Republicans to place a "true Christian" in the important position. Despite the smear campaign against Straus, his colleagues voted to keep him on as speaker, and he went on to win the house vote.

Among the messages circulated against Straus were several by Peter Morrison, who FightHatred.com says is "treasurer of the Hardin County Republican Party and writer for a white supremacist website." Morrison reportedly alleged that Straus’ rabbi sits on a Planned Parenthood board, and said that the Jewish Straus “clearly lacks the moral compass to be speaker," while pointing out that the rival candidates for Speaker were Christians.

The negative messages were sent out in mass emails and in automated phone recordings

Straus, 51, represents District 121, which comprises northeastern Bexar County and several surrounding communities. He joined the House after defeating fellow Republican Glenn Scott Starnes in 2005. Straus was first elected Speaker on January 13, 2009.