No rest for the political junkie around here, as the race for Speaker of the Texas House gets going.
A new race for Texas House speaker kicked off late on Election Night with a growing cast of candidates and anyone's guess as to the outcome.
House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, won't surrender without a fight, however, which virtually guarantees another tussle for the top leadership spot.
"The Republicans have maintained the majority in the House, and as long as the Republicans have the majority, we are confident that the speaker will remain speaker," Craddick spokeswoman Alexis DeLee said Wednesday.
A recount could take weeks, which leaves the final House margin up in the air. Republicans will either have a slim 76-74 advantage, or the chamber will be deadlocked, 75-75.
Craddick barely survived two challenges to his leadership last year when he had an 81-69 majority.
"You can stick a fork in Tom Craddick. It's over," said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Jim Dunnam, D-Waco, the day after the election.
As of late Wednesday afternoon, four Republicans, including Craddick, and four Democrats had filed candidacies for speaker. The chamber's 150 members will choose their leader in January.
Rep. Tommy Merritt, R-Longview, jumped into the speaker's race after the election results. He supports private balloting to prevent retaliation for voting against the winner and a ban on incumbent speakers soliciting pledge cards.
"Our schools are failing our children, everything from insurance rates to electric bills to prison expenses to budget growth is quickly getting out of hand. And what has our speaker's answer been? 'Ignore the problems. Keep me in power at all costs. Forget the rules. I know best.' Well, no more," Merritt said.
Other GOP speaker candidates are Delwin Jones of Lubbock and Jim Keffer of Eastland.
Democrats officially in the running: Pete Gallego of Alpine, Allan Ritter of Nederland and Senfronia Thompson and Sylvester Turner, both of Houston.