I told you that Bryan Hughes dropping his challenge to Speaker Joe Straus and endorsing David Simpson’s bid would make the race much more entertaining. The fun is starting.
First up, in Harvey Kronberg’s BACK OF THE NAPKIN SPEAKER RACE CALCULATIONS Does Simpson’s challenge change any dynamics?, he includes this gem:
Plus, the veterans know that the outside groups demand absolute loyalty. One senior Republican told QR, “you can campaign as a Tea Party candidate and vote with them 90% of the time…but as soon as you take the oath of office, you become the enemy.”
And right on time, the kids over at Agendawise, one of Michael Quinn Sullivan’s agitator sites, prove the point about “demand absolute loyalty”, using Rep. Phil King as a foil. First, here is King’s quote about the race in a Dallas Morning News article by Christy Hoppe .
Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, who opposed Straus last session, said that the speaker has widespread support, and that Simpson is too inexperienced to close the sale.
“It’ll be difficult for members to look at him at this stage of his career as being a strong speaker candidate,” King said.
Here are a couple of quotes from Agendawise posts prior to Rep. King’s presumed support of Speaker Straus :
Agendawise post: Liberal Spin in Phil King’s District
Quote: heroes of Texas voters – conservatives like Phil King
Agendawise post: Who wants more gambling in Texas?
Quote: stalwart conservatives Phil King Betty Brown and Nathan Macias
Now look what they write after King’s presumed support of Speaker Straus:
Agendawise post: King finally marries his political mistress
Quote: With King’s sad decision, conservatives have shed an agent for weakness from within their ranks.
Heh, King goes from a heroic, stalwart conservative to “an agent for weakness” in the blink of an eye. “Demand absolute loyalty” – check.
The Texas Tribune’s Ross Ramsey’s Inside Intelligence contains a few good tidbits about the race. The “insiders” think that Joe Straus is currently in the strongest position among himself, Gov. Perry, and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst. That sounds about right. In addition, only 5% of the “insiders” think that Straus will lose the Speaker’s post. The chart showed 2% think that he is “very likely” to lose the post – I’m thinking, what the heck kind of “insiders” is Ramsey using? Then I saw the first name on the list and knew where the 2% came from. You’ll have to look for yourself.
I especially liked this “insider” quote:
“Anyone voting against Straus is rowing back to the Titanic hollering ‘don’t go down without me’.”
Heh – if I were a freshman, I’d take that quote seriously.
Let’s take a look at the fifteen reps that voted against Speaker Straus in 2011. Five are no longer in the House, four are supporting Straus, leaving Simpson not much to draw from:
- Leo Berman (HD-6)
- Cindy Burkett (HD-101) – told a constituent that she was voting for Straus
- Erwin Cain (HD-3)
- Wayne Christian (HD-9)
- Dan Flynn (HD-2) – DMN Robert Garrett says uphill for Simpson
- Jim Landtroop (HD-85)
- Phil King (HD-61) – DMN article now supports Straus
- Jodie Laubenberg (HD-89) – public endorsement of Straus
- Tan Parker (HD-63)
- Ken Paxton (HD-70)
- Charles Perry (HD-83)
- David Simpson (HD-7)
- Van Taylor (HD-66)
- James White (HD-12)
- Bill Zedler (HD-96)
I’d bet that Charles Perry moves to Straus as well. The others might hold firm, leaving Simpson with 5 votes. He might persuade a few freshmen to vote for him but not all freshman are willing to give up any chance at relevance, so even that road will be hard. And for all the talk of Democrats supporting him, I doubt that more than a handful will be willing to align with him, but even if 100% of D’s did, he still doesn’t have the votes. Like I said Monday, the numbers just aren’t there.
Another problem for Simpson is that with the increased spotlight on him, the looks into his background and record will increase. I don’t know who writes this blog, Texas Conservative Reality, but whomever it is is not a fan of Michael Quinn Sullivan and is some type of political insider. In this post about Simpson, the blog raises a couple of issues of note. Unfortunately, they also mock his faith – I hate it when people do that, be they on the right or the left. But a couple of things in the post are worth noting.
Simpson, for all of the media he received during the last session, was completely unproductive. He only authored 12 bills total, and two of those were commemorative resolutions. The only ones he passed were the two commemorative resolutions. Compare that to fellow freshman Rep. James White, who authored 25 bills, four of which were commemorative resolutions, and passed four real bills into law, in addition to the commemorative resolutions. Productivity was not Simpson’s forte in the 82nd session.
But the most damning thing might have been one of the bills he authored and filed, HB 2849. As noted in the Texas Conservative Reality piece about Simpson, that bill would have crippled the Texas oil and gas industry. Filing that bill showed terrible judgment on his part. Any rep thinking of supporting Simpson’s bid for speaker needs to take that into consideration.
Bottom line? I told you it would be more entertaining! Pass the popcorn, we have another month of this stuff!