Reporting from the Texas Legislature, with investigation and analysis of the state's economy, public policy, education, and more. 

Man of the People

texasmonthly.com: When did you decide to write about Dan Patrick?

Mimi Swartz: I have wanted to write about him for a couple of years at least, because he has been such a phenomenon in Houston for so long, taking on local power figures like Ken Lay and Ben Love and, more recently, Mayor Bill White.

texasmonthly.com: How long did you work on the story?

MS: I worked on the story for about six weeks, beginning to end.

Minority Report

The day of reckoning is coming. It could occur as soon as 2010, more likely by 2014, or perhaps as late as 2022, but nothing can prevent the moment when demographics takes over and the sleeping giant of Texas politics—the Hispanic vote—awakes at last and restores the Democratic party to its rightful hegemony.

From 109 to 83 to ???: The Craddick Defectors

Based on the list of pledges in the Quorum Report, here are the members who were on Tom Craddick’s list of 109 pledges as of November 8 but not on his list of 83 pledges as of December 28:

Republicans (13 defectors)
Charlie Geren
Pat Haggerty
Bryan Hughes
Delwin Jones
Edmund Kuempel
Thomas Latham
Jodie Laubenberg
Brian McCall
Ken Paxton
Jim Pitts
Debbie Riddle
Todd Smith
Robert Talton

Pitts: Craddick Can't Get There

Jim Pitts announced for Speaker at his 4 p.m. press conference. Apparently the audio was not working, so anyone viewing the proceedings couldn’t hear anything. You don’t suppose the Speaker’s gremlins had anything to do with this, do you? Following his remarks, Pitts was asked why he decided to run. He said he told Craddick on Tuesday that he didn’t think the speaker could “get there” [to 75 votes]. Even so, Pitts’ name appeared on Craddick’s list of pledges today.

Pitts' Play

What a wild day this has turned out to be–an historic day. The entry of Jim Pitts into the speakers’ race has everybody guessing what he’s up to.

Question: Has he entered the race on his own behalf? Or is he a stalking horse for McCall? Or evenCraddick?

Speaker's Race Update: McCall Moving?

I have not posted anything on the speaker’s race since I broke the news on Saturday that McCall had filed to enter the race because I didn’t know what was going on, and I didn’t think anyone else did either. I’m not going to buy into posturing. That said, I got a call from a presumed McCall supporter today, which I will relate. The McCall camp is brimming with optimism. Here is what they are claiming:

56 Democrats, “rock solid” (to quote Bill Miller about Craddick’s prospects in a Statesman story on Christmas day).

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