Yesterday, the Chron Texas Politics blog reported that House Speaker Pro Tem and staunch Tom Craddick ally Rep. Sylvester Turner was non-committal about who he’d support in 2009.
Turner says he’s a free agent as far as the 2009 speaker’s race is concerned.
Turner, who was already back in his Houston law firm Tuesday afternoon, said he’s had enough speaker’s politics to last him six months.
“I don’t want to think about the speaker’s race for the duration of the year,” said Turner. “I haven’t made any commitments or signed pledge cards.”
The first question members need to ask themselves is whether they plan to return to Austin in 2009, he said. Beyond that, they must assess who will best govern the House.
“Anyone who commits or tries to nail something down now would be acting prematurely,” Turner said.
Apparently, Turner is disregarding his own advice, because it seems he is thinking about the ’09 Speaker’s race, and he does have a candidate he’s committed to: Himself. QR has the scoop.
SYLVESTER TURNER FILES TO RUN FOR SPEAKER IN 2009
Key Craddick supporter jumps ship
In his statetment, Sylvester Turner (D-Houston) said, “I don’t ever want to have another legislative session like the one just completed where taking care of the people’s business took a back seat to political agendas. We have too many problems in this state to waste most of a legislative session on political agendas that do not include providing lower electric rates to the low-income and elderly or more funding for mental health programs.”
“I have worked effectively in the House under a Democratic majority,” Turner said, “and I have worked effectively in the House under a Republican majority. I have sought to treat every member with the utmost respect and I have worked to operate the House with the utmost degree of integrity.”
“I sincerely hope that over the next 18 months, members will evaluate and assess my abilities,” Turner continued. “I believe I am the best person to serve as Speaker in 2009 and I hope the members will give me the opportunity to serve as their Speaker.”
Turner’s full statement is here (Word doc). This just got a whole lot more interesting, and a whole lot messier for Craddick. The question is whether Turner can unify Democratic support, or if they’d prefer to stick to Senfronia Thompson. I have no idea right now how this will play out. But it’s all good from where I’m sitting. I don’t see how Craddick gets to 76 votes without Turner in his corner. That’s the best news I’ll hear this week.
UPDATE: Early indicators are not positive for Turner as the One True Democratic Candidate for Speaker, at least as far as BOR is concerned.