A lot of readers have been commenting about my post, “The Kuempel Kandidacy,” saying that Kuempel can’t win because he doesn’t have, as one commenter put it, “gravity.” I think he means “gravitas.” My response was, You don’t need gravity—or gravitas—to be speaker. All you need is 76 votes. The point is that it doesn’t matter that Edmund Kuempel isn’t Sam Rayburn. The hardcore anti-Craddick vote is getting very close to 76—if you believe the Democrats. They claim to have 64 hard anti-Craddick votes. Talk is cheap, names are real, and I do not trust anyone who claims to have numbers but doesn’t produce names. On the other hand, I talked to a widely respected Democrat today who has seen the list and counted the signatures and he says there are indeed 64. There are ten hard-core ABC’s: Cook, Geren, Jones, Keffer, Kuempel, McCall, Merritt, Pitts, Solomons, Straus. I have my own list of eight more R’s, but, since nobody seems to want to reveal their lists, I’m not going to reveal mine. But the math is easy enough: 64+ 10 = 74. The anti-Craddicks need just two more votes for a majority, and they may have chipped away at a coule of Craddick D’s. This is the real math of the speaker’s race. If the insurgents can get to 76 votes, and if they can agree on a speaker candidate, and if they can stick togther, there is nothing the other 74 members can do except (1) join the majority or (2) organize a counterinsurgency.
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