I have not posted anything on the speaker’s race since I broke the news on Saturday that McCall had filed to enter the race because I didn’t know what was going on, and I didn’t think anyone else did either. I’m not going to buy into posturing. That said, I got a call from a presumed McCall supporter today, which I will relate. The McCall camp is brimming with optimism. Here is what they are claiming:

56 Democrats, “rock solid” (to quote Bill Miller about Craddick’s prospects in a Statesman story on Christmas day).

17 Republicans, including four chairs, ready to “go to the Alamo”

Robert Talton has publicly pledged to support McCall

6 others on the verge of pledging

Which makes a total of 73. “On the verge of” doesn’t count.

Senfronia Thompson will release her pledges.

“We’re a lot closer to 73 than Craddick is,” says the member.

Just a word of caution: A speaker’s race is all about perceptions–the perceptions of members of who is ahead and how close they are to the magic number, which, don’t forget, is 75, not 76. This version has McCall two votes short. Of course, it is the oldest game in the book to get the message out that a candidate is just one or two votes short and try to start a panic among members wanting to get on board the Victory Special.

More, from a different caller:

Craddick is said to be willing to get rid of his hatchet-woman, Nancy Fisher, an aider and abetter of the armtwisting style that has kept Craddick in power.

One other point: my well placed noncombatant told me yesterday that McCall had only eight Republicans. I have told you everything I have heard.