August 01, 2005
A new speaker in 2007?

Arnold Garcia, Jr floats the notion that Tom Craddick's Speakership could be a casualty of the endless legislative summer.

While some might sniff disaster in the air around the Capitol, others smell opportunity. House members bucked the leadership, and the Earth didn't fall off its axis.

Craddick should worry less about "busting" [Jim] Keffer and [Jim] Pitts and more about 20 or so House Republicans teaming up with 62 Democrats to bust him. In case you've forgotten high school civics, members elect speakers, so 80 is more than enough to fire a speaker in the 151-member House.

You might have to listen closely, but rumbles are coming from members who might want to take on Craddick.

They don't owe him a thing, the reasoning goes. The speaker led the House to vote on a tax bill that would be a tough sell back home, only to have the whole thing blow up.

Although they might be criticized for doing nothing, lawmakers didn't call the special session; the governor did. Twice. And the individual members didn't try to ram a tax bill that spared businesses at the expense of consumers; the leadership did. Twice.

Better to look responsive to the folks back home than be perceived as the business lobby's hired help.

"Busting" refers to losing committee chairmanship - Keffer chairs Ways and Means, while Pitts oversees Appropriations, and both helped kill HB3 in the end. I don't know how loud these rumbles are, but I could see this happen, especially if the Democrats pick up a few seats next year. Garcia's logic makes sense to me.

Now, Craddick did claim to have enough pledges of support in hand at the end of the regular session to ensure his reelection as Speaker next time around. That was, of course, before the current unpleasantness took place. I don't know how binding those pledges are; perhaps we'll find out. Again, if a few people get knocked off next year, who knows?

The Red State has more on this, including his pick for Craddick's replacement if it comes to that.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 01, 2005 to That's our Lege | TrackBack