There will be other defections. I have speculated before that there are probably moles on the Straus pledge list who are ready to switch to Paxton in an orchestrated effort to create the appearance of momentum. It’s a smart strategy. Members in the penumbra of Dan Patrick’s radio broadcasts are likely candidates — Charlie Howard comes to mind. Remember, 66 votes — 67, if Pena follows Ritter into the Republican caucus is the threshhold for passage of any proposition in the Republican caucus. Weber’s defection drops Straus’s number of pledges to 71, by my count. As long as Straus holds at least 66 Republican pledges, his forces can block any adverse action by the caucus. Both sides have a chance to pick up an additional supporter in the special election on Tuesday to replace Edmund Kuempel.
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