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

Photo Op Update

A reader commented on the previous posting, “Photo Op”:

Has it occurred to you that perhaps the videographer was there to cast suspicion on the Dems and neutralize the “intimidation” issue for Craddick? Dollars to doughnuts the guy was on Craddick’s payroll so the old man can say, “see, they do it too!” Nakedly transparent and totally in character.

Photo Op

The Craddick fete at the Austin Club seems to have drawn an uninvited street crowd. In addition to TV cameras, a freelance photograph took photos of arriving guests with a digital camera. You can bet that Craddick will know who showed up, so the cloud of suspicion falls on Democrats looking for material to use against the Craddick Ds in the 2008 Democratic primary.


I know that bloggers aren’t allowed to have a life, but just for once I’m going to try to have one today. There’s a big bridge tournament, I’m a serious player, I played a little yesterday and I’m going to play a lot today. I’m really sorry to be so selfish. Please excuse Mr. Burka on account of important business.

I hear that there are going to be a couple of more defections to Pitts today. I’ll catch up on everything and post this evening.

Status of the Speakers Race 04/01/07

I chose a date in the future–about the time floor debate really starts to heat up and the calendar grows long and members start to realize that their bills are dead–because I really don’t think that the speakers race ends on Tuesday at noon. Oh, there will be a winner, but no matter who it is, the House is so divided, not into Republicans and Democrats but into Craddicks and antiCraddicks, with just a few votes separating them, that we may see a perpetual speakers race this session. Suppose Craddick wins.

"Christmas in January"

That was Jim Pitts’ description to me, in a brief phone conversation this afternoon, of the recent moves by the Craddick camp: the new double-barrelled pledge card, to be signed Sunday night, that reads (according to the Quorum Report), “I am committed to voting for Speaker Tom Craddick for Speaker, and I am also committed to supporting public, recorded vote for the Speaker-Elections”; and the proposed method of voting for speaker in HR30, by Craddick ally Will Hartnet

The Press Conference: No List

I didn’t start this post until several hours after the Pitts-McCall press conference. It was such a letdown that I didn’t have any inspiration. There was nothing to analyze, just a weak performance that did nothing to bolster Pitts’ candidacy, not because they are weak people– quite to the contrary, they are outstanding legislators–but because, by the very act of calling the press conference, they raised the level of expectations at what appeared to be the crucial moment of the race and then failed to meet them.

Off to the Pitts Press Conference

Despite some rather vehement contradictions from readers who posted comments, I continue to believe that unless Pitts comes forward with names today, he’s toast. Here’s why: The first person to produce a credible list of supporters with sufficient votes wins a speakers race. Craddick’s list has not been credible because McCall was claiming that he had 16 of Craddick’s 83 (now 82) pledges. If Pitts doesn’t show his hand, Craddick’s list will become credible in the eyes of the members.

Don't Expect Names at 4 p.m.

That’s the word from one of the ABCs, who called me a few minutes ago (around 11:15 a.m.). As it was explained to me, the defecting Republicans still live in fear of retaliation from Craddick, who is capable of generating pressure from the entire Republican apparatus, from precinct chairs to consultants to major donors. I still think that the best way to avoid the pressure is sign on and stick with it.


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