Thursday, May 24, 2007

Todd Smith has filed HR 2669 and 2671

Over the past two weeks, there has been a lot of talkin without a lot of walkin over a new Speaker's race. Quorum Report has followed some of the pork Craddick has given to certain districts, the daily blogs report that latest gossip, and Paul Burka has predicated that every member will run for Speaker.

There's been speculation as to whether this would happen by next session or before Sine Die, and Byron Cook even made a passionate speech about tyranny and Hell that was followed by a pretty loud thud. Patrick Rose walked away from the Speaker, taking Eddie Lucio III with him, only to discover that the other candidates didn't want his support, so he returned to Craddick on his knees, who in turn told him not to let the door hit his ass on the way out. And Dukes never left Craddick's side.

Today, however, Republican Todd Smith filed two resolutions, HR 2669 and HR 2671, today May 24, that would vacate the speaker and hold a new election. HR 2669 would provide that each ballot contain the member's name, and HR 2671 would provide a secret ballot.

Why Todd Smith? When Craddick and Jimmy Leininger did a push poll in his district a year ago to see if he was vulnerable, Smith retorted: "This is the robotization of the Republican Party. If you are not prepared to read off of a pre-approved script, you need not apply."

Word has it that Saturday afternoon could be the time, well after what Cook and Rose had predicted. So far, there are a total of five candidates: the incumbent Craddick, Jim Keffer, Jim Pitts, Brian McCall, and Fred Hill, but right now it's tough to say who has it.

New PACs are formed every day, but there's a new one, Ronald Reagan Republicans for Local Community Control and Speaker Term Limits, that would pull in money for Republicans not on the Speaker's agenda and would give cover to Byron Cook and presumably Todd Smith.

In terms of the best strategy, it's obvious that the insurgency wouldn't be anything more than ceremonial now, so when would be the best time to pull the trigger? Before Sine Die? Or just focus on the next election cycle, when more moderate Rs/more Ds will be pulled in? It's obvious that anti-Craddick PACs will be formed regardless of what happens over the next five days, but Rs may be concerned about Craddick adding that zero to his war chest, so the less power (real or perceived) he has over the next 18 months, the better chance he won't be Speaker next session.

But given that it's clear there's no clear consensus since no one had the votes a few days ago when Rose was shopping his nomination speech, I wouldn't be surprised if the moderates are as disappointed at the end of the session as much as they were at the beginning.