Alternative headline: Why there is not, never was, and will not be, a race for speaker in the upcoming legislative session.

The answer is that Joe Straus ran a classic big-tent speakership. He put House members to work long before the legislative session was even a gleam in his eye. He gave them assignments and the satisfaction of being on the inside and getting involved in major issues in the upcoming session, which is something every member wants to do. In doing so, he enabled the House to get the jump on the Senate by the time the session comes around in January. It was irrelevant whether the member was a Democrat or a Republican. Anyone who wanted to be involved in the work of the House had a chance to do so. And the members engaged in important issues, including a potential impeachment of Regent Wallace Hall and a restructuring of the Texas Enterprise Fund. Scott Turner’s challenge to Straus never got off the ground.