Buzzing around Austin tonight (first reported by the Texas Tribune here) is the rumor that Texas State Representative Leo Berman will announce he will file as a candidate for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a busy political news day as it is the same day of the SD-22 Special Election Runoff.
Michelle Samuelson over at Blue Dot Blues rounds up all you need to know about Leo Berman’s potential candidacy for Speaker of the Texas House with the quote below.
Berman, if he files, is a stalking-horse for someone else, someone less lightning-rod. There is general agreement among the punditry and the consultancy that an actual race for speaker depends entirely on what happens in November.
If this indeed is the start of the 2011 Speakers Race expect the conservatives in the Texas House to take a page out of the playbook of the Anything But Craddick (ABCs) house members including the “Gang of 11” and Democrat Caucus Chair Jim Dunnam of Waco that overthrew then Speaker of the House Tom Craddick. The group of ABCSs started a slow burn that was timed perfectly to erupt into an inferno that burned down the House of Craddick.
They did this by having their members slowly announce that they were going to file to run against Craddick for the Speak of the House. This slow burn continued over the days, weeks and months as more and more house members announced their candidacy, their support to one of the announced candidates or their general displeasure with the current leadership. This strategy was very effective because it kept the Speakers race in the news cycle every week and with each new announcement the talking heads, newspapers and political insiders talked about Craddick’s potential downfall and perpetuated the narrative that Craddick was vulnerable.
If this is the real kick off of the Speakers race look for another candidate to announce and or for Berman to show he has a strong base of support in the coming weeks or months.
Who would the eventual Speaker of the Texas House be if this is the first shot of a successful Speakers race? I would look to Reps. Warren Chisum, Phil King and Wayne Christian to be on the top of that list and a part of the new leadership team that controls the committees and thus the Texas House of Representatives like the Gang of 11 currently does.
Of course none of this matters if Republicans do not successfully defend all of their seats and pick up some new ones, like these great Central Texas Republican candidates for the Texas House, Larry Gonzales in Williamson County, Paul Workman in southwest Travis County, Pat McGuinness in northern Travis County and Jason Isaac in Hays County!