Things are about to get ugly in the speaker's race. The Craddick forces, led by several longtime loyalists (I want to run another check on the names), are trying to stir up a coordinated campaign to put pressure on wavering colleagues to vote for Craddick. According to credible reports I have received from Republican operatives, they are asking members to call various GOP and conservative groups with which members may be connected.
Putting on my best faux-reporter voice, I called Rep. Solomons to find out why he would be so crazy as to run for Speaker. I wanted to give him the opportunity that we gave to the other 140 candidates to send along an Official Declaration of Intent. Solomons noted that the statements we compiled pretty much sound the same, and he basically agrees with all of them.
With Election Day quickly approaching, it has become clear to many conservatives that a Democratic takeover of the Texas House of Representatives is a very real possibility. What was once a 26-seat Republican majority in 2003 has dwindled to an eight-seat majority today, and that number will almost certainly shrink again this year. The Republican Party simply cannot afford any more losses in the Legislature, let alone a return to Democratic control.
I have asked Democratic insiders how their slate of candidates will fare in races for the House of Representatives. Their answer is that the D's will pick up one to three seats, with a possibility of winning enough seats to capture control of the House.
I have asked Republican insiders how their slate of candidates will fare in races for the House of Representatives, and the answer is that the R's will pick up at least two seats, with a possibility of extending the Republican majority into the low eighties.
I learned today about a method of analyzing House races that may be able to predict winners (no warranties, expressed or implied) in close races for the Texas House of Representatives. The idea is to determine whether Democrats have a chance to win certain races, based on primary turnout of the two parties and Obama's percentage in the presidential primary.
Take Michael "Tuffy" Hamilton.
Republican primary turnout in the district: 4,714 = 6.2% of registered voters
This is going to surprise you. It surprises me. In the most hotly contested races in the state, many Democratic candidates hold substantial leads over their Republican opponents in fundraising. Of course, Craddick has $3 million ($2,998,784.92, to be exact) to distribute, and his modus operandi has been to spend it late, when it is hard for the other side to respond. He can give 30 members $100,000 each. All figures represent cash on hand with thirty days to go.