Of Course, There Is No Speaker's Race, But...
Thu November 16, 2006 10:12 am

This is an amended version of a posting from yesterday.

The topic du jour was the possibility of a speaker's race (which is more talk than action, so far). The speculation focused on two actions of Governor Perry. One was his comment, when asked about a speaker's race, that it was an internal House matter. I wrote that since the default comment was "I support the speaker," there was significance in what the governor did not say and suggested a couple of reasons why the governor might have reason to look favorably upon a new speaker: Craddick's intransigence in end-of-the-session negotiations, the bad blood between the speaker and the lieutenant governor, and an incident from the 2004 special session on school finance, when a Craddick lieutenant offered the governor's tax cut program as an amendment and it was defeated by a vote of one hundred and twenty something to nothing. I also noted speculation about why the governor had not called a special election to fill the vacancy created by the recent death of Representative Glenda Dawson of Pearland. If the vacancy is not filled by January 9, when the 80th Legislature convenes and elects a speaker, there would be one less Republican to vote for Tom Craddick. This speculation, however, failed to take into account state law about when special elections may be held. The governor's office provided this information this morning:

"The Governor, by law, may not call a special election until after the state canvass of the election has been completed, at which time a vacancy is considered to have occurred...Under Texas law, if a deceased candidate wins an election, a vacancy is considered to have occurred on the date the election results are canvassed by the Governor (Election Code 201.028)...Under the Texas Constitution, the Governor may only order a special election within 20 days from when the vacancy occurs (Article 3, Section 13). Under Texas law, the earliest possible date the Governor may canvass the election is 15 days after election day -- in this case, November 22, 2006 (Election Code 67.012). The Governor takes an oath to uphold the laws and constitution of the state, and this circumstance is no different. He hopes to call the special election on November 22 -- the earliest possible date to do so -- if all the county canvasses are completed by then."

My mistake, and I apologize to all concerned.

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