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Charlie Geren

Bowl of Dread

Nov 12, 2013 By Paul Burka

I was aghast when chili was first anointed our official state dish. More than 35 years later, my feelings about this greasy mush haven't changed.

Don’t Mess with Chairman of House Administration

Apr 11, 2009 By Patricia Kilday Hart

We respect the right of everyone to celebrate Easter / Passover Week in his or her own way. Charlie Geren has a spiritual moment with a 50-caliber sniper rifle (accurate to 2,000 yards) at his ranch on Good Friday.  More proof that the 81st Legislature is weapons-obsessed.

The Vacuum: Who will run the GOP races in 2010?

Apr 5, 2009 By Paul Burka

The conventional wisdom is that Republicans will pick up House seats in 2010, for two reasons. One is that the president's party seldom does well in the first off-year election (George W. Bush in 2002 being a notable exception). Another reason is that Democrats have to defend their recent gains in marginal seats in Republican districts. But I'm not so sure that the conventional wisdom is right. The Republican electoral apparatus is in shambles. Tom Craddick has directed every Republican legislative campaign since "76 in 96." I can't envision him playing that role in 2010, even though his personal campaign account has $2.12 million cash on hand and his Stars over Texas PAC has another $94,000+. What's the point? The slaves have been freed; they don't want him back as speaker. Many GOP members chafed at the tight control and micromanagement exercised by Craddick over their campaigns last fall; it was a factor in his downfall as speaker. More to the point, the Republicans lost seats in every election since Craddick became speaker. So the question is: Who will run the races? The Republican party is incapable and incompetent. ART, the Associated Republicans of Texas, was very effective in its heyday, but when a split developed in the organization over whether ART should engage in Republican primary races, ART's godfather, Norm Newton, left the organization. ART is no longer a factor. The efforts of the Patriot Group to form an umbrella organization for Republican elected officials suggests that the firm might be seeking to take control of the elections. Other consultants and activists might have their own ideas. TAB's Bill Hammond and lobbyist Mike Toomey oversaw the 2002 elections, but they did so under Craddick's aegis. Texans for Lawsuit Reform, a Toomey client, aligned with Craddick in 2008, but they supported conservative Democrats as well as Republicans, and their efforts were significant. Rick Perry loaned his campaign team to the Craddick effort last fall, without notable success. If Perry were to win his Republican primary race against Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2010, he and his team could organize a campaign, but if he loses, he'll have one foot out the door. In short, the infrastructure for a Republican campaign does not currently exist.

Let the speculation begin

Jan 19, 2009 By Paul Burka

Committee appointments will be the first real test of the Straus speakership. How many of the 149 members can he satisfy? Here are some of the problems he will face: —Straus has said that there will be no retaliation against Craddick loyalists. Good luck in keeping that promise. The ABCs…

Day One: Free at Last

Jan 14, 2009 By Paul Burka

The first day of a legislative session always has the festive atmosphere of a high school reunion, but this one had something extra. It was also Bastille Day—the moment that the masses stormed the battlements and freed the prisoners. I have never seen so many members look so happy. Charlie…

The speaker’s race: Update

Dec 28, 2008 By Paul Burka

The long Christmas weekend is about over. Keep an eye on the Ethics Commission tomorrow (Monday) for new filings for speaker. Gattis is a possibility. McCall is a possibility. It was this time last year that he filed. I talked to one of the ABC’s on Saturday. He said that…

Secret Disservice

Dec 8, 2008 By Eileen Smith

Your daily space queen video! It’s worth clicking on just to see what I look like when I forget to sit on a telephone book. Paul Burka on the secret speaker’s ballot, and why he was for it before he he was against it. (Flip flopper.) Honorably mentioned: Speaker Craddick,…