Friday, January 04, 2008

A Democratic Speaker in the Texas State Legislature?

Let’s take a break from the presidential hustings that have now shifted to New Hampshire. God knows we need it. I want to look back to state politics for a second and make some observations.

In 2008 there will be 26 Democratic challengers to Republican incumbents in the State House. Twenty-six. If this seems like a big number, then you are not wrong. Some of these challenges are in arguably safe Republican districts, but I am certain that if you asked the Republicans who live in Dan Barrett’s HD 97, they would have said the same thing. Granted, some districts are still too red to flip, but consider the odds. All we need are one in five odds in order to turn 5 house districts, and that, means a 75-75 split in the Texas House. One more and the Democrats have a majority. If we win one in four house races, we have a majority.

And then do you know what happens next?

We have a new Texas Speaker of the House.

A Speaker elected by the new majority. A Democratic Speaker.

There are just a whole bunch of Republicans who want to unseat Tom Craddick, the Republican state rep who has exercised what amounts to autocratic rule over the House. Some still side with Craddick, but with a Democratic majority, I think we don’t have to worry any more about which moderate conservative we want to elect.

Now that we have Democrats running for the Speaker’s spot.

These Democrats include State Rep Senfronia Thompson and State Rep. Sylvester Turner. Both have filed in the race for Speaker, the election to be held in the early days of January 2009. Of the two, I am guessing that Sylvester Turner will be garnering whatever votes the Republicans don’t cast for their own party’s nominees. Turner, you see, turned his back on his Democratic colleagues in the waning days of the 80th Legislature, as he stooped to support Tom Craddick in his lust for absolute power. When Tom Craddick wasn’t at the speaker’s desk turning away Democratic calls for removal of the speaker, State Rep and Speaker Pro Tem Sylvester Turner was there, doing likewise.

This leaves only one obvious Democratic candidate for Speaker of the House, and that is State Rep. Senfronia Thompson.

So when we retake Texas, by retaking the State House majority, we will have a new day in Texas, and a new Speaker of the House: Senfronia Thompson.

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