November 30, 2008
The state of the Speaker's race in a nutshell

This sounds about right.

House Speaker Tom Craddick's critics say they've got enough signed pledges against him to make his re-election all but impossible.

But Craddick's opponents have yet to coalesce around a challenger seeking to replace him, ensuring that behind-the-scenes jockeying for one of the most coveted political offices in Texas could continue right up until the Legislature convenes Jan. 13.

If this were a retention election, like some states have for judges, I feel confident that Tom Craddick would be voted out. The problem is that this is basically a multi-candidate special election, and under any scenario I can think of at this time, Craddick will have more votes than any of his eight or so challengers. I don't know if House rules require a majority or not, but even if it goes to a runoff, I have to think he'd be enough people's second choice to hang on to his office. More simply put, as Patricia Kilday Hart noted in a nice overview of the Speaker's race, "You can't vote for speaker a guy named 'Anybody But Craddick'". I hate to say it, but until it's Craddick versus one consensus candidate, not Tom Craddick Versus The World, he's the favorite.

[Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, a former Craddick ally who recently announced his own candidacy for speaker,] said he has about 15 members who are ready to emerge publicly as his "second wave" once it becomes evident he can be elected speaker.

"They just want to feel comfortable that there can be life after Tom. That's all there is to it," Solomons said. "It's not as if they dislike Tom. It's not as if they want to hang him on a tree. But they also understand where we are, here. A lot of that is sinking in now because of the reality of the numbers."

Solomons won't say how many of his GOP colleagues make up his first wave of support.

"I have enough to make it clear that Tom can't win, but when they stand up, it makes it more clear," he said. "I think we are two or three weeks away from getting this thing decided."

That sounds a lot like the old newsgroup claim that the lurkers support me in email. I'm skeptical of Solomons' statement because I'd bet that other Speaker hopefuls could say the same thing to some degree. I hope one of them is right, but until members put their cards on the table and make their intentions known, it's all wishful thinking.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 30, 2008 to Election 2008
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