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 don’t think these intimidation tactics work (except when Craddick uses them), especially when you resort to the same tactics as the guy you’re trying to replace.
All in all, this has been a pretty quiet day, especially compared to yesterday. Geren and Kuempel coming out for Pitts was not news; most people had them as ABCs all along. Raymond, unlike most of the other Craddick Ds, didn’t have plum committee assignments that would be at risk if he switched, so his defection was not a shock. That move was nullified by Democrat Eddie Lucio III’s weather-vane endorsement of Craddick. This movement of Ds does help Pitts, but some switchers are more important than others–specifically, what Pitts needs is Republican votes. The math of the speakers race continues to be that Craddick had 69 Rs and 17 Ds pledged to him on December 28. Three of the Ds have defected, leaving him with 83 plus the switchers; Lucio makes 84. That’s 9 more than he needs. For Pitts to win, Craddick must lose 10 more votes. Most of them are going to have to be Republicans who are currently pledged to Craddick. Looking at the list of R pledges to Craddick, I can find 10 who OUGHT to switch, but not 10 who are likely to.