Republican lawmaker Joe Straus said he collected enough pledges from House colleagues Saturday to knock out incumbent House Speaker Tom Craddick.
"We're at 76, and we're adding them up," Straus said of the threshold number needed to clinch the top leadership spot. "I feel real good about our numbers."
Straus, who emerged as the consensus candidate of 11 maverick Texas House Republicans on Friday night, planned to formally announce his victory today, when he hopes to have close to 90 pledges.
The controversial Craddick, however, was in no concession mood, and he plans to meet with his own supporters today.
"We have grown stronger in the last 24 hours. The size of the field has narrowed, and the speaker has picked up momentum and is in a great position," Craddick spokeswoman Alexis DeLee said. "The meeting is on, and I am not going to discuss strategy."
For much more on Straus and the state of the Speaker's race:
Laylan Copelin says both sides are focusing on six Dems from the List of 64, including Houstonians Carol Alvarado and Hubert Vo. All I can say is that Alvarado told me when I interviewed her before the March primary that she would not support Tom Craddick; as for Vo, I can't imagine what the appeal would be for him in crossing over. Whatever.
John Coby rounds up some newspaper editorials that call for Craddick's ouster.
TFN Insider rounds up the religious right's support for Craddick, while Vince examines a particular charge the social conservatives are making against him. Meanwhile, Rick Perry Versus The World speculates that there will be an effort for require Republican legislators to support "the pick of the majority of the House Republican Caucus". You know, technically the Democrats already have such a rule - they're supposed to vote for a Democrat for Speaker if one is running. Needless to say, that isn't much of an obstacle in real life; there are still five Democrats who have filed for Speaker this session, after all. I'll simply observe that this whole saga has some real potential to expose a sizable rift in Republican unity. That would be just fine by me.
UPDATE: Via Twitter, Rep. Pena says Rep. John Smithee has filed for Speaker. Burka had previously suggested the possibility of Straus versus Smithee for Speaker. Rep. Pena also says that Rep. Senfronia Thompson has withdrawn from the Speaker's race.
UPDATE: Laylan Copelin reports Straus may have a formal announcement that he's got all the votes he needs to win as early as today, possibly tomorrow. Harvey Kronberg says Rep. Thompson is supporting Straus:
Thompson told QR, "I am going to support this guy. I looked at the other candidates but he is the best. I think it might be the beginning of something different."
UPDATE: Rep.-elect Marisa Marquez of El Paso confirms her support of Straus. All San Antonio Dems, with the notable omission of Ruth Jones McClendon, do likewise. And Rep. Hubert Vo's chief of staff, Karen Loper, sent out the following email:
[Laylan Copelin's] report in not correct. Hubert Vo signed a pledge card for Joe Straus on Saturday.