That is how many members appear to be committed to a course to elect a new speaker. It’s the 64 Democrats plus the 11 members of the ABC coalition (some of whom are not hardcore ABCs) plus the Gattis 4. It’s time to count Smithee in this camp, judging from his public remarks about the state of the House. That’s 80. What does this mean?
What it does not mean is 80 votes against Craddick for speaker. Depending upon how the speaker’s race develops, some of the R’s could end up with Craddick. What it does mean, I think, is that on the procedural issues—secret ballot, for example, or dumping Keel as temporary parliamentarian—these are yes (that is, anti-Craddick) votes. And if there is a secret ballot, it is hard to imagine Craddick being reelected.
And what about the Democratic pledges to vote against Craddick? The Craddick camp claims that they have six Democratic pledges from people who are on Dunnam’s list. Maybe they do. But I think the wobblies will be inviting primary opposition if they vote for Craddick. They signed pledges. How do they explain away going back on their word? A guy selling flowers on the street corner could beat anybody who does that: “He broke his word to his colleagues and he’ll break his word to you.”