January 04, 2009
Is this really the end for Craddick?

It is, according to Rep. Pena on Twitter:

The Speaker's race is over. Straus will be the Speaker for 81st Legislative Session.

And now according to the Statesman as well:

Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, confirmed that Speaker Tom Craddick is dropping his bid for a fourth term as House leader.

"He's pulled out," Miller said of the Midland Republican.

Miller and other Craddick loyalists are meeting tonight to see if they can block San Antonio Republican Joe Straus who claims he has the votes to be the next speaker.

Meanwhile, Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, confirmed that she told Craddick this afternoon that she would be supporting Straus.

"He was very congenial," she said. "He was a gentleman."

According to KXAN, Craddick may have an alternate candidate in mind:

Craddick supporters are convening at Sullivan's Restaurant in Austin at 7 p.m. Sunday evening to discuss the possibility of replacing Craddick with [Rep. John] Smithee as their candidate. This move would allow Craddick to step out of the controversial spotlight and still maintain control of the House through his ally, Smithee. KXAN's Jenny Hoff is stationed outside the restaurant as members approach and filing reports as the continuing drama unfolds before the first gavel comes down on the next legislative session.

Seems a bit late for that, especially if Straus releases a list of 80 supporters, as he's reportedly about to do. Burka thinks it's too late for Smithee, and I agree.

One "Dear Colleague" letter from him in the past seven weeks could have ended Craddick's speakership. He wouldn't do it. His decision to wait from Friday until Monday was typical. He doesn't yearn for power. His reticence doesn't stem from fear. It's just his personality. The two day delay from Friday makes it hard for him to pull it together. It may be too late now, depending upon whether Straus has gained some new recruits, and how many. The pool of uncommitted members is shrinking, particularly on the Democratic side. The only reason for D's to switch to Smithee is if Straus can't close the deal and Craddick stays viable. Otherwise, why would they go for a rural guy at the backside of his career than an urban guy on the way up? On the R side, the only way for Smithee to get traction is for Craddick to give up and pass the torch.

Which may happen, but 80 supporters would trump that, if it holds. For what it's worth, I think Smithee as Craddick's man would hold less appeal for most members than Smithee as his own man would have. He's going to try to appeal to Straus' supporters anyway. There may yet be some twists to this. I sure hope not.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 04, 2009 to That's our Lege

Ding dong! The witch is dead!

Posted by: Mike on January 4, 2009 7:27 PM
Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)