AUSTIN (AP) – Republican Rep. Ken Paxton of McKinney is jumping into the Texas House speaker’s race.

Paxton announced his bid Thursday to try to unseat incumbent Republican Speaker Joe Straus. Rep. Warren Chisum, a Republican from Pampa, also is in the speaker’s race.

Thursday afternoon Paxton issued a statement that said, in part, “Republicans have the opportunity to unify behind a conservative Speaker who can effectively lead our Party on the principles our citizens espouse. As someone who has continuously served as an advocate for conservative principles, I am announcing my candidacy for the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.”

Paxton said Election Day voters across the state sent a clear message “that they favor leadership dedicated to protecting our freedoms and fighting government growth.” He said conservative principles need to be carried out by a conservative speaker.

Some conservative Republicans are upset that Straus, who’s more moderate, was elected in 2009 with the help of House Democrats. They say he is not conservative enough on some issues, like fighting illegal immigration.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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