I was in touch yesterday with two people who were watching the SREC meeting–in particular, the discussion of the resolution concerning the speaker’s race. The advocates of the resolution were careful to present it as a neutral action that did not take sides in the speaker’s race. However, two pro-Craddick legislators showed up at the meeting and spoke about the resolution–Bill Zedler and Dan Flynn. Both are publicly committed to Craddick, though Zedler will not be able to vote for speaker, having lost his race for reelection. Here is the report that I received: “Zedler spoke at the start of the meeting and endorsed the resolution, attacking what he viewed to be wayward Republicans [not a verbatim who did not promote true Republican principles [not his precise words]. Flynn made similar comments after the Resolution was adopted, saying that pro-life and pro-family achievements accomplished the past several years would be rolled back under a liberal speaker and that there was only one man the Congressional delegation wanted as speaker for Redistricting. Neither (that I can recall) ever mentioned Craddick by name.”
This is the text of the resolution:
Resolution Supporting Election of a Republican Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives
WHEREAS, a primary function of the Republican Party of Texas is to elect candidates that embrace the principles articulated by the Republican Party of Texas Platform and to enact those principles legislatively;
WHEREAS, the success of the advancement of Republican principles in Texas depends heavily upon having a Republican Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives elected by a majority of the 76 members of the Republican House Caucus; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Republican Party of Texas calls upon Republican members of the Texas House of Representatives to only support for election, and to elect, a Republican as Speaker of the Texas House who gains the support and vote of the majority of Republican House Members; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the Republican Party of Texas calls upon Republican members of the Texas House of Representatives to hold all votes for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives by open, public ballot; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be delivered by electronic mail to each Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives and posted on the Republican Party of Texas website.
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This commentary was posted to the Lone Star Report web site, and I appreciate receiving a copy:
We just got a call from SREC Member Jason Moore of Odessa (Senate District 31). He was one of the three lead authors of the resolution. He told LSR that none of the authors were asked to bring the resolution by any sitting legislator and that they did it on their own initaitive. He said that he, Russ Duerstine of San Angelo (Senate District 28) and Brian Russell of Austin (Senate District 14) are the lead authors of the resolution.
“The three of us who came up with this resolution specifically talked with our fellow SREC members that we wanted the resolution to be member-neutral,” Moore said. “We don’t want to cram any specific candidate down the members’ throats.”
Moore also added that he is shocked that only Tom Craddick has stated publicly his support for an open and transparent speaker ballot. “It’s a sad commentary on our political process that only one of the Republican candidates for speaker to date has publicly proclaimed his support for openness and transparency in the way the House elects its leader,” Moore added.
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Was the resolution member-neutral? The words “Tom Craddick” do not appear in it, but the criterion that Republican members of the House of Representatives [should] “only support for election … a Republican as Speaker of the Texas House who gains the support and vote of the majority of Republican House Members” clearly favors Craddick at the present time, since he has been gathering pledges for some time and, I reckon, has at least 39 GOP pleges, or a majority of the 76-member majority. Of course, that could change, if members perceive that Craddick has stalled out and can’t get to 76 votes overall. The requirement of an open and transparent ballot, whatever may be its merits, also favors Craddick, because it opens the door to intimidation and retaliation.
One other point: Flynn’s comment that members of the congressional delegation prefer one man (obviously Craddick) to be in charge of redistricting is not germane. Congression redistricting is three years and two speaker’s races away. Think of all the impediments to getting a bill that favors Republicans through both houses and onto the governor’s desk for his (or her!) signature. Democrats could have a majority of the House. The Senate Democrats could block the bill under the two-thirds rule. A Democratic governor could veto the bill. The Obama Justice Department could scotch it. And the federal courts will have their say as well. Tom Craddick will not be much of a factor, whether he is speaker or not.