AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- The Texas House has re-elected Joe Straus as Speaker, staving off complaints from tea party and conservative groups that he was too moderate for a third term.

The House elected the San Antonio Republican by acclimation after the only challenger, David Simpson of Longview, dropped out of the race. The election took place in the opening hours of the 83rd Legislature on Tuesday.

The speakership is one of the most politically powerful in Texas.

Simpson was the second state representative to challenge Straus after Mineola Republican Bryan Hughes withdrew his candidacy in December. Many tea party groups, and conservative activists such as Empower Texans, complain that Straus is not rightwing enough. They complain that he appoints Democrats to key positions and suppresses legislation important to fiscal and Christian conservatives.

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