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Sly for Speaker?

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.

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5 Comments

  1. Forest says:

    Why do you call call him “Sly”? Is this kinda like “Slick Willie”? I suspect this is something BOR started.

    In a related note, I was disturbed by some of the comments made during the Speakers race blow-up this weekend. One commenter, referring to Ron Wilson, wrote “Slap that thug down!” Wilson might be an asshole and certainly deserves ridicule but calling him a thug has a very racial undertone to it, if you think about it.

  2. Forest – Sylvester Turner has had the nickname Sly for as long as I can recall. See, for example, this link from 1997 and this one from 2005, both penned by local consultants. I think Sly is a pretty standard nickname for Sylvester – see, e.g., Sly Stallone.

  3. Gosh….if they are dumb enough to select Sylvester for speaker, they are dumb enough to reelect Craddick.

    Gosh. That is a lose lose situation.

  4. Souperman says:

    I guess my wonder is if we do manage to flip the House (which is still a big if), what will happen. Will we get a Senfronia Thompson from a unified Democratic majority or a Patrick Rose (or otherwise conservative Dem) from a Republican minority and a few Democrats swayed, similar to what Pitts tried to do with the majorities reversed? You can be sure that if the GOP keeps their majority, there will not be a Democratic speaker – with a redistricting session in 2011 (and the speaker sits on the Redistricting Board if the Lege fails to pass a map), they wouldn’t want a Dem winning and getting a foot in the door to possibly be re-elected in the 82nd Lege.

    Not sure I really see Sly as the next speaker… he’s too indebted to the GOP-dominated leadership for most Dems and is too much a Democrat for almost all of the Repubs – squeezed from two sides, just like he was in the last mayoral election he ran in.

  5. I’m not sure if I’ve said this before, but it might be best if we had a strict party line vote for Speaker. That way we would not have this junk.