Has the anti-Straus faction adopted a strategy of divide-and-conquer? That is, putting forth multiple candidates for speaker, which would muddy the waters and dilute the vote for Straus. The problem with this strategy is that neither David Simpson nor Bryan Hughes has demonstrated that he has the gravitas to be speaker. If indeed the opposition’s strategy is divide-and-conquer, it is hard to see who might be their leading candidate. Berman is gone, Chisum is gone, Wayne Christian is gone…maybe Phil King?

The recent selection of Myra Crownover as  chair of the Republican caucus is likely to be a temporary development. She is not interested in running for the post, preferring a subcommittee chairmanship on Appropriations. Two members who are likely to run for caucus chair are Jim Murphy and Brandon Creighton. In 2011, the leadership of the caucus was Larry Taylor and Kelly Hancock. They had little loyalty for Straus; during debate, they circled the podium like piranhas. As the policy director of the caucus, Hancock had great influence over how members voted; he was the de facto majority whip. The ascension to the Senate of Taylor and Hancock was the best thing that could happen for Straus.