Here's the news from yesterday's press conference.
There was no cavalry, no list of supporters -- indeed, no promises of a list of supporters.
When Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, announced Thursday that he had locked up the votes in the race against his onetime ally Tom Craddick for speaker of the Texas House, only one House member appeared at the news conference with him: Rep. Brian McCall, the former candidate for speaker who threw his support to Pitts on Wednesday.
Pitts, the affable House Appropriations chairman and 14-year House veteran, said he is not going to play "the list game," referring to the list of 83 House members Craddick said last week were in his camp.
He said he appeared with only one House member not because he couldn't find anyone else to bring along but because he didn't want to subject his supporters to the intimidation that he said would certainly follow.
"I would not put a member in jeopardy. But I guarantee you," he added, "the race is over."
Pitts' decision not to name names was almost certain to have one effect on the high-stakes race for speaker: prolong the outcome until Tuesday, the opening day of the session.
Beyond that, there was little consensus on who was ahead in the battle between the conservative Republicans.
Some Democrats think their brothers and sisters who support Craddick are doing so at the expense, not for the benefit, of their constituents and deserve opposition in the next election. After all, Houston Democrat Al Edwards was seen as losing in the primary partly because he was on Craddick's team.
One suggested the possibility of Senfronia Thompson's cutting a radio ad for opponents of, say, [Ruth Jones] McClendon or Austin's Dawnna Dukes (Appropriations Committee).
The possible script: "I was the first black woman to run for speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, and who did she support? She supported this Republican white guy who cut CHIP health insurance for poor children!"
Josh Berthune was not impressed.
Hal is cautiously optimistic.
Peggy Fikac notes the lack of names from Pitts and McCall. As it happens, Harvey Kronberg reports that Craddick's spokesperson Alexis DeLee will not be releasing any more of their supporters' names. You can make of that what you will, but the rumors I'm hearing suggest Craddick's support is way down, well under 75. Obviously, we'll know when they vote.
Jason Embry apparently likes doing image searches.
In the Pink contributor Fled the Asylum relates a melancholy story about Pete Laney in the days following Craddick's ascension in 2003. We can only hope that someone will have a similar tale to tell about Craddick in the future.Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 05, 2007 to That's our Lege