Tom Craddick

Will cuts be restored? Craddick says no

Oct 30, 2012 By Paul Burka

I saw in the Midland Reporter-Telegram that Tom Craddick spoke to the home folks–the Permian Basin Petroleum Association–a few days ago. Here’s what he had to say: When the next session of the Texas Legislature opens in January, “it will be about money,” said State Rep. Tom Craddick, who…

Craddick seeking Railroad Commission post

Jun 22, 2011 By Paul Burka

Not Tom. His daughter Christi. Rick Perry has a vacancy to fill, following the resignation of Michael Williams in April. (Williams, through his consultant, had previously insisted to me that he was unequivocally running for the U.S. Senate; he now has his sights set on one of the 17 or…

Help! Help! There’s a pig in this room! Quick, get the lipstick!

Mar 24, 2011 By Paul Burka

You have to feel sorry for the Legislative Budget Board. The LBB came out with a required report titled "Dynamic Economic Impact Statement" on the effect of the House budget, and you have never heard such squealing in the pink building. Among those seeking to apply the Maybelline were David Dewhurst and the Texas Public Policy Foundation. But it will take more than a whole tube of "red revolution" or "warm and cozy" to pretty up this swine. You see, the LBB made a big mistake: It told the truth. It didn't say, as the governor likes to boast, "We have gotten through hard times before," or, "We are confident that the state will be able to meet its obligations." Instead, it delivered the bad news. How bad is bad? All of the numbers in parenthesis are negative. Total employment [Jobs lost] 2012 (271,746.1) 2013 (335,244.1)

MVP: Most vulnerable player (in redistricting)

Feb 11, 2011 By Paul Burka

[I have recovered some material I lost from the original post] It’s Jim Landtroop. 1. He’s a freshman. 2. He supported Paxton for speaker. 3. He cast one of the fifteen votes against Straus for speaker 4. He represents a part of the state that is hemorrhaging population. 5. He…

House committee assignments, at long last

Feb 10, 2011 By Paul Burka

The Joe Straus who put together these committee assignments was a different Joe Straus from the one who made the appointments in 2009. Straus 2.0 is a much more skilled politician. For those who had labeled him a RINO, he spiked that attack by appointing 27 Republican chairs to only 11…

Craddick criticizes the use of stimulus funds

Sep 30, 2009 By Paul Burka

An unsigned editorial in today’s Midland Reporter-Telegram expresses concern that the $12 billion in stimulus funds that were used to balance the budget “might some day come back to haunt us.” The paper was alerted to the danger by “a recent report to Midlanders from Tom Craddick, our…

Whither Straus?

May 26, 2009 By Paul Burka

On the night that the House debated the Appropriations bill on the floor in 2007, Democrats were able to add amendments for a teacher pay raise and against school vouchers. Craddick lieutenants went onto the floor to try to turn the votes but were unable to do so. The next…

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.

Is Straus more powerful than Craddick?

Feb 20, 2009 By Paul Burka

This may have been the point that Dutton was trying to make: that the logic of the new rules makes the speaker virtually invulnerable to removal. Craddick’s critics argued that the congressional precedents and other authorities (such as Mason’s) empowered the members to remove the speaker at any time by…

PROPOSED NEW HOUSE RULES

Jan 23, 2009 By Paul Burka

The highlights: 1. A process is established for removal of the speaker following the refusal to recognize a member for a question of privilege. (The Tom Craddick Rule) This had to be done. The Craddick/Keel/Wilson ruling that the speaker was an officer of the state and could not be removed…

House rules will address removing the speaker

Jan 23, 2009 By Paul Burka

The rules debate will probably take place on Wednesday, one day after the governor’s State of the State address. Last session it took 8 hours and 48 minutes for the House to adopt its rules. Democrats raised legitimate concerns about confidentiality and attorney-client privilege, due to former Republican operative Milton…

Dunnam’s empty threat

Jan 15, 2009 By Paul Burka

Sometimes the Democratic leader can be really smart, as when he pinned down Tom Craddick with parliamentary inquiries over the past three sessions, and sometimes he can be way off base. Yesterday he was way off base when he intervened in the Senate dispute over the voter I.D. bill. He…

Can Craddick come back?

Jan 11, 2009 By Paul Burka

Sure, there are circumstances under which he could regain the speakership. He has $3 million and a loyal core of conservative members who support him. He has time on his hands–nothing to do but make oil deals, raise money, and recruit candidates for 2010. The speaker’s statute is no longer…

A Suggestion for Straus

Jan 8, 2009 By Paul Burka

Before election day, when it still seemed as if Tom Craddick might win reelection as speaker, Terral Smith told me about what he hoped to do with committee assignments. Rather than use vice-chairmanships as a reward for loyal team members, Smith wanted to replicate the relationship between Rob Eissler and…

Did the Democrats make a mistake? UPDATE

Jan 8, 2009 By Paul Burka

Note to readers: This original post (scroll down below the asterisks) noting the ironies for both parties surrounding the presumed election of Straus as speaker, has kicked up a bit of a furor. I unwittingly blundered into a fierce debate among Democrats. Party people such as Matt Angle think that…

The Liberation

Jan 7, 2009 By Paul Burka

I have covered the Texas House of Representatives since 1975. What I love about the place is that, traditionally, it is has been an open shop. The culture of the House is that you can do what you are big enough to do, whether you are on the team or…

Sore Winners

Jan 6, 2009 By Paul Burka

The worst mistake that the Straus regime can make is to be sore winners. Doesn’t anybody learn anything around here? Craddick was a sore winner. He rubbed the Democrats’ and the ABCs’ noses in the dirt for three sessions. Laney once said, jokingly, that Craddick had done what he could…

Ich bin ein Speaker!

Jan 5, 2009 By Eileen Smith

Burka and Eileen discuss probable Speaker Joe Straus, Craddick’s exit, horse racing, and whether bridge qualifies as gambling. Honorably mentioned: John Smithee, Burt Solomons, Dan Gattis, Jim Keffer, and playing the ponies. (And yes, I am wearing a scarf over my turtleneck. My space heater gave out, and I can’t…

Will Craddick stay?

Jan 5, 2009 By Paul Burka

When Tom Craddick became speaker, Pete Laney remained in the Legislature for two sessions. Craddick believed, rightly or wrongly, that Laney orchestrated the Democratic resistance to his leadership, and he deeply resented it. Is history going to repeat itself? Is Craddick going to take his seat on the floor and…

The speaker jinx

Jan 5, 2009 By Paul Burka

Add Tom Craddick to the list of speakers whose careers ended for reasons other than their own choosing. Byron Tunnel, 1963, had his sights set on a second term, but was forced out of office by Governor John Connally, who gave him the choice of a soft landing of a…

Straus vs. Smithee?

Jan 4, 2009 By Paul Burka

Here’s where I think the speaker’s race is headed. I should credit a commenter to my previous post with a similar analysis. If Straus gets to 80+ by Sunday afternoon and lays out the names, he’s going to be the next speaker. If he hasn’t proved up his 76 votes…

Can Straus hold the votes?

Jan 2, 2009 By Paul Burka

I think Straus is an honorable member, and he certainly deserves the credit for being among the first to speak out against Craddick, but speaker seems like a stretch. I’ve said before that it isn’t rocket science to preside in a fair manner, but the ABCs also needed to consider…

79 and counting…make that 80

Dec 30, 2008 By Paul Burka

That is how many members appear to be committed to a course to elect a new speaker. It’s the 64 Democrats plus the 11 members of the ABC coalition (some of whom are not hardcore ABCs) plus the Gattis 4. It’s time to count Smithee in this camp, judging from…

Conversations with Craddick

Dec 30, 2008 By Paul Burka

A noncombatant Republican, not a member, sent me this e-mail about several conversations Craddick had over the weekend with supporters, which were duly reported to my source: Over the weekend, there were some telephone calls made by Tom Craddick in which (according to the report from one of the people…

The Next Speaker

Dec 30, 2008 By Paul Burka

It will be Dan Gattis, John Smithee, or Burt Solomons. Gattis has to build some momentum. The test, in a speaker’s race, is not whether a candidate can reach out to other members. It’s whether other members, believing that a candidate is for real, reach out to him. These next…

No Time for Tom

Dec 29, 2008 By Paul Burka

Everyone wants to attend Craddick’s funeral, but the corpse is still breathing—barely. One more nail in the awaiting coffin: The Democrats  published their names. It’s vital, as January 13 approaches, that the insurgents do everything possible to bolster their credibility, and the best way to do that was lay out…

More on the ABCs meeting

Dec 26, 2008 By Paul Burka

I had a conversation with one of the ABCs. His comment: “It didn’t look like they were close to an agreement.” This does not come from an attendee, but from the proverbial “knowledgeable source”: The statement following the meeting  said that eleven people attended. What it didn’t say was that…

Math 101 in the speaker’s race

Dec 16, 2008 By Paul Burka

A lot of readers have been commenting about my post, “The Kuempel Kandidacy,” saying that Kuempel can’t win because he doesn’t have, as one commenter put it, “gravity.” I think he means “gravitas.” My response was, You don’t need gravity—or gravitas—to be speaker. All you need is 76 votes. The…

More on Saturday’s SREC meeting

Dec 7, 2008 By Paul Burka

I was in touch yesterday with two people who were watching the SREC meeting–in particular, the discussion of the resolution concerning the speaker’s race. The advocates of the resolution were careful to present it as a neutral action that did not take sides in the speaker’s race. However, two pro-Craddick…

The First Battle

Dec 3, 2008 By Paul Burka

Friday, December 5, is going to be an important day—the first meeting of the working group on the House rules. This will be the first opportunity for members to learn what Tom Craddick and Terry Keel have cooked up for the next session. Will they attempt to limit parliamentary inquiries,…

About That Survey We Got Skunked On…

Dec 3, 2008 By Eileen Smith

Referring to the poll from Hill Country Consultants (no one honored the embargo but us because we have things like “ethics” and “I’m kidding”), Burka says that the Republicans in Texas have blown it. (So, apparently, do the voters who said R’s are more arrogant, racist, and corrupt. Is that…

The Speaker’s Race: Shock and Awful

Dec 1, 2008 By Paul Burka

Things are about to get ugly in the speaker’s race. The Craddick forces, led by several longtime loyalists (I want to run another check on the names), are trying to stir up a coordinated campaign to put pressure on wavering colleagues to vote for Craddick. According to credible reports I…

Tuition de-reg: Will it be an issue in the speaker’s race?

Nov 23, 2008 By Paul Burka

Here’s the problem for Tom Craddick. The House passed tuition deregulation in 2003 for one reason and one reason only: The speaker twisted Republicans’ arms to get the votes. Almost six years later, tuition and fees at Texas’s public university have risen by an average of 50%, according to Robert…

You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You

Nov 14, 2008 By Eileen Smith

So find yourself a Speaker to love. FAIR WARNING. This is a video. It is not required viewing. It may take eight minutes to watch. I only push play to increase traffic, and to improve my broadcast media skills. It’s not working. (And you try looking good at the end…

The Speaker’s Race: Burnt Orange says Craddick can’t win

Nov 14, 2008 By Paul Burka

Very good work here [“Speaker’s race: Not Craddick — 74, Craddick Ceiling — 63”], a member-by-member analysis of where the House stands on the speaker’s race. The methodology is to look at members’ public statements and votes. They did a great job. But they’re wrong. The problem with…

Everyone’s a Speaker!

Nov 13, 2008 By Eileen Smith

11/14 Update: Peer Pressure works again! Now we have eight of the nine. (Delwin Jones, please report to me.) So who’s your favorite? Naturally, in the interest of bipartisanship and journalistic ethics, I will not be revealing my choice. 11/14 Update #2: Delwin Jones’s statement was lost in Evan Smith’s…

Show the Speaker Voting Me

Nov 12, 2008 By Eileen Smith

Eileen and Paul talk about if the Speaker even matters, Craddicks and Anti-Craddicks, and whether Tom was popular in high school. Honorably Mentioned: Dan Branch, Lois Kolkhorst, Pete Gallego, Jim Dunnam, and, of course, Speaker Craddick…

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Place in Line

Nov 10, 2008 By Eileen Smith

Latest video: Burka on the Speaker’s race, naming names, the “Craddick Effect” (copyright pending), and broken pledges. For the first time, Paul wonders if Craddick can keep his post. Honorably Mentioned: the candidates, the Conservative Coalition, Plan B, and Warren Chisum. (Note: If you are having trouble viewing…

The speaker’s race: How much is Craddick to blame?

Nov 7, 2008 By Paul Burka

As everyone knows by now, Republicans have lost 12 seats since Craddick became speaker. Eight of these losses occurred in the last two elections. The main reason for these losses was not Craddick; it was George W. Bush. But I do think that a close scrutiny of seats won and…

Bringing Down the House

Nov 7, 2008 By Eileen Smith

Eileen talks with Burka about the cantankerous Speaker’s race, a House divided, Craddick D’s, ABC’s, and 2010 with KBH. Honorable video mentions include: Reps. Tommy Merritt; Jim Keffer; Pete Gallego; Craig Eiland; Dan Gattis; Alan Ritter; and Sylvester Turner.

The Democratic Pledge: why it won’t work

Nov 4, 2008 By Paul Burka

Why is it that the Democrats insist on trying to act bossy? Is it genetic? Can’t they help themselves? The demand upon party discipline before they have won a majority is foolish. My last post on this subject was, I have to admit, a bit on the hysterical side, and…

Speaker Up

Oct 31, 2008 By Eileen Smith

Candidates for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives tell us why they think they should hold the highly coveted gavel.

The Speaker’s Race: The Craddick-Dingus Debate

Oct 29, 2008 By Paul Burka

On Sunday, October 19, the two candidates for district 82, incumbent Republican Tom Craddick and Democratic challenger Bill Dingus met in a debate in Midland. The complete debate may be viewed online here. The online version has separate segments for each question that was asked and for the opening and closing statements. One peculiarity is that the debate was sponsored by AT&T, and the senior vice-president of AT&T Texas was allowed to be a member of the panel that asked questions. My report on the debate is based upon my notes of the answers to questions. It is not a verbatim transcript. Each candidate had one minute to respond to a question, and they were allowed unlimited thirty-second rebuttals. Craddick opening statement: I grew up in Midland, moved here when I was 9. I went to public schools here, and my children went to school here and graduated from high school. When I ran for speaker I made some commitments. We took a ten billion deficit and turned it into a positive, no new tax increase. We gave more than $14 billion in property tax relief, the largest property tax cut in history . We did tort reform and brought ten thousand new doctors to Texas. We have the number one business climate of any state. And I've done lots of things for Midland. Dingus opening statement: I want to thank KMID and everyone who is here tonight and those who are watching this debate. Thanks to Speaker Craddick for agreeing to participate. I want to thank all the voters of district 82 who have been so supportive of my candidacy. I am running because I want to provide a choice, an independent voice in Austin as opposed to one that is not. West Texas has big issues, the Trans-Texas Corridor, high utility rates, paltry funding of public education. But the biggest problem is the domination by special interest lobbyists who control too much of what is decided in Austin, and that is the change I want to bring to district 82. What is your position on the Trans-Texas Corridor? Dingus: It's a bad idea, and we shouldn't do it. It's a $140 billion boondoggle. The state would have to condemn 460,000 acres of good Texas farm and ranch land. This is a good example of how lobbyists control everything we do in Austin. Craddick: The Trans-Texas Corridor was originally designed to get larger highways between the major cities. Tx-DOT took it and ran with it. The Trans-Texas Corridor is dead. There is a moratorium on it. I did not vote for the Trans-Texas Corridor. I wasn't even on the floor when the Trans-Texas Corridor was passed. It doesn't affect West Texas. Everybody in Austin knows it is dead. [Craddick and Dingus then engaged in a fast-paced discussion over whether Dingus supported another major highway that was to cut through West Texas from Presidio. Craddick said Dingus made the motion to support it as a Midland city councilman and named the date of the vote. Dingus said that he voted for the bypass around Midland to keep 5,000 trucks a day out of the city. He added that he and other opponents completely rewrote the proposal.] Fifty percent of the money in this race has been received from outside the district. How can local voters be suyre their voice is heard, and would you be beholden to people from outside the district? Dingus: I got a contribution from my mother, I;m beholden to her. Others I got were all from friends and relatives. They're not going to be asking me for any favors. I got an awful lot of contributions from the district in small amounts. Craddick: We received a lot of contributions from the district, more than our opponent, and a larger amount dollarwise, and a lot of statewide contributions. A lot of these are from political action committees. Well, what is that? That's a lot of people who live in Midland, doctors, dentists, have done that. [Craddick named people in the audience who were involved in PACs, including "my opponent's dentist."] Dingus: There is a difference between lobbyists and PACs. Corporate lobbyists money is huge, and that I have a problem with, and you should too. In the Legislature a lot of emphasis is placed on seniority and rank. Does having the speaker come from Midland make a difference? [I intend to keep my personal opinions about the candidates out of this report, but -- this is outrageous. The debate was sponsored by AT&T. This question was asked by Leslie Ward, the AT&T vice-president and lobbyist whose company has given Craddick bucketsful of money. It is obviously a softball pitched so that Craddick can knock it out of the park. She had no business being on that panel, or asking that question.] Dingus: It does make a difference, and it should make a difference. The problem isn't so much the rank and the seniority, it's the behavior of the person. I think we can all agree that if we did establish term limits, we wouldn't say one term of forty years or two terms of twenty years. That's too long. With power comes longevity, and there's a problem with longevity. Craddick: The speaker being from West Texas does make a difference. It's a real positive for us out here and people across the state. And probably, in today's world, looking at redistricting in two years, there won't be another speaker from rural areas after me. It's been a real positive. Look at the health care facilities tied to Texas Tech, OB-GYN, two new surgical suites, digital mammograms. And I think as far as term limits, we have term limits in this state. People can vote you out every two years, that's our term limits. Dingus: I'm not running against Tom Craddick because he is speaker. It is because of what he has done as speaker that I am running against him. Craddick: I'm very proud of what I have done as speaker and I'd do it again.

The Speaker’s Race: The McHaig letter

Oct 25, 2008 By Paul Burka

With Election Day quickly approaching, it has become clear to many conservatives that a Democratic takeover of the Texas House of Representatives is a very real possibility. What was once a 26-seat Republican majority in 2003 has dwindled to an eight-seat majority today, and that number will almost certainly shrink…

Where is Tom Craddick when you need him?

Sep 29, 2008 By Paul Burka

Note to President Bush: If you want to pass the bailout bill, I suggest that you call Tom Craddick. He knows how to pass bills. The first thing he’ll do is tell all the Republicans that if they don’t vote for the bill, they won’t get another dime in election…