October 12, 2007
Friday rumormongering: More R-to-D switches coming?

It's from last Friday, but Rio Grande Valley Politics had some interesting scuttlebutt.

Here's the rumor du jour. Two other Republicans are considering the switch to the Democratic side. If England wins re-election as a D, and the two rumored Republicans switch sides and win as Ds, that brings up the count to 72.

Will this hurt Craddick's chance at a fourth term as Speaker? Let's do some math. I'll be hopeful and start with 72 Democrats, but unfortunately I must remove the 12 Craddick D's that supported him this past session - It was 14 total but at the end of session Rep. Eddie Lucio, III and Rep. Patrick Rose removed their support of Craddick. That leaves us with 60 Democrats, and with hopes and prayers that they stay together as a voting bloc could spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E for Craddick if they align themselves with a good set of R's for the coup de etat. For now, the key is to find at a minimum 16 Republicans to join the 60 Democrats and support one candidate for speaker. It's my own pipe dream, but it could happen.

At the time of Kirk England's party change, I heard some rumors about there being more to come. It could still happen, but I suppose I figure if it were going to, it might have happened by now. On the other hand, there's always the possibility of someone making like US Rep. Rodney Alexander of Louisiana, and filing to run with the other party just before the deadline, in order to keep potential opponents at bay. Anybody else hearing anything about this?

As for the Craddick arithmetic, the primaries will be as much a factor as the general election will. We know some Craddick Ds - Pena and Bailey, to name two - will have challengers, while some non-Craddick Rs will also face (likely well-funded) opposition. Last year, this broke favorably for the anti-Craddick forces, with Al Edwards losing to Borris Miles, then Vilma Luna stepping down and Solomon Ortiz Jr coming in. The Republican primaries were more about vouchers than Speaker politics, even though folks like Tommy Merritt and Delwin Jones were targeted. That will likely be different this time. Point is, the math may be very different one way or the other after March than it is now. We'll see how it goes.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 12, 2007 to That's our Lege