The speakers race: Paxton’s likely votes, and Straus closes in
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This is a list of members who are already in the Paxton camp or likely to end up there. The Returning Craddickites (12) Berman Chisum Christian Craddick Flynn P. King Morrison Riddle Woolley The Paxton inner circle (3) Paxton Laubenberg T. Parker Freshmen pledged to Paxton (8) Burkett Cain Landtroop C. Perry V. Taylor Simpson Sheets White Republicans not pledged to Straus, probable Paxton (5) Hartnett C. Howard Hancock Hughes Orr Republicans who de-pledged Straus (4) Gonzales Workman Weber Zedler Uncommitted Republican Freshmen (3) Anderson Davis Isaac Potential for Team Paxton 35 A commenter posted today that Paxton had 35-40 votes “in the bag.” * * * * Straus has 72 Republican pledges. I’m not sure if this is current or post-defections of Gonzales, Workman, and Weber. (It does not count Zedler, whose defection occurred earlier.) In any event, Straus must be very close to having 76 R votes, which would be enough to elect him without needing any Democratic votes. His base was 72, and he has added Kuempel and, in all likelihood, Pena and Ritter. That’s 75. One switch from Paxton’s list, or by a previously uncommitted freshman, and Straus would be dormie. And he wouldn’t have to listen to “Straus was elected by Democrats” any more. How is Paxton supposed to win? He has 35 likely votes. There are only two places for him to get more votes: the three unpledged GOP freshmen, and Straus’s main list. Not going to happen unless Birnam Wood moves to Dunsinane Hill. The question is: Why would anyone on Straus’s list jump from a winning team to a losing team? Member who are still on Straus’s pledge list after enduring all the threats and intimidation since November 2 are there because they want to be players in the session — a committee chair or vice-chair, or a member of Appropriations, or a seat on calendars or redistricting. Unless there are massive defections from Straus to Paxton between now and January 11, a Republican caucus vote will be superfluous and redundant.