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Texas BlogWire

Process Could Kill a Candidate

by: Glen Maxey

Fri Jan 05, 2007 at 05:48 PM CST

( - promoted by Matt Glazer)

Harvey Kronberg is reporting on an issue that I have chatted about with a few legislators in the last few days: the process of electing the Speaker.  Kronberg's Quorum reports states that Craddick will announce that the vote will by a verbal roll call.  BAD IDEA.

I haven't sat down and done a trial run of Craddick pledges (off any list) to see if more of his supporters are in the front of the alphabet.  For all I know, Pitts could have the advantage in such a roll call.

But the point is, NOBODY should have that type advantage.

Kronberg states that the last contested floor vote was Parker/Clayton in the 70's.  They used signed ballots placed in a ballot box where no one knew how others were voting until all were cast.

The process that is used for this vote is not set in the Constitution, statute or law.  It is a matter that's decided by the members before the vote is cast.  Most procedures of the House are merely functions of the House Rules.  The 80th Legislature adopts rules by a majority vote.  The session starts with a blank slate on the matter, and usually, just to get started, the members adopt the rules of the preceding legislature as temporary rules.  After a week or so, permanent rules are usually adopted.

There's lots of discussion being held about secret or public ballots so that voters know how their rep voted and/or members are protected from retribution through a secret ballot.  That's a valid discussion and can be argued both ways as a public policy.

However, I've never thought a secret ballot vote would happen.  But as Kronberg reports, there is no set way to do the vote if it is a public vote.  If you do the Craddick proposed process, then you skew the vote.  Folks at the end of the alphabet get the advantage of switching to the winner as soon as that becomes apparent. 

House members from both sides, should get a rule amendment drafted and adopt a balloting process that has all ballots cast at the same time or at least in a process that doesn't give the folks at the end of the roll call an advantage.

Tags: Speaker's Race, Texas Lege, (All Tags)
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Where are the anti-Craddick votes alphabetically? (5.00 / 1)
Has someone done a quick look to see if our anti-Craddick vote is skewed more to the front or the back of the alphabet?

Also this late note to add to Craddick's culture of corruption.  Rep. Lon Burnam is asking DA Ronnie Earle to check out Craddick business dealings.

AAS article 1/5/07
Democrat complains to DA about Craddick business interests
Rep. Lon Burnam of Fort Worth, a vocal critic of Craddick, wrote in a letter to Earle that an entity owned by Craddick is collecting rent from a contractor who has been paid millions of dollars for state projects.
Burnam said Craddick has a financial interest in a company that owns a commercial building in Austin that leases office space to Carter & Burgess, an architectural, engineering and construction management firm. Burnam, citing figures from the Texas comptroller's office, said the firm was paid more than $23 million by the state in 2006, mostly through the Texas Department of Transportation.

Voting for Speaker (0.00 / 0)
It should be noted that, even if it wasn't a publicly announced vote, everyone KNEW BEFORE THE VOTE what the outcome of the 1975 vote which elected Clayton would be.  That had been decided far in advance when Clayton laid out his pledged names.  All that was at stake was determining which members were willing to be punished because, no matter what, they would not vote for Clayton.  (That included a good number of the Dirty 30 that had opposed Mutscher.)

Random Roll Call No Better (3.00 / 1)
Just chatted with a House member in the know, and it was relayed that the proposal actually might be a "random" roll call of the members.  In this scenario, it might be random on who gets called on first, but you have the same result.  The first called vote their conscience or their twisted arms, and then the last folks get a free ride to vote for the winner and never have to take a hit.

Still sucks and still needs to be fixed to have a vote occurring at the same time for everyone, with results revealed after everyone has voted.

The advantage of incumbency (0.00 / 0)
Reminds me of the quote "it's not who votes that counts, but who counts the votes".

Craddick has home court advantage.  I can not believe a determined Texas Legislature is going to let Craddick outsmart them.  If Craddick wins, then they never intended to challenge him.

[ Parent ]
Why not get undecideds together with pledges for pitts... (0.00 / 0)
and vote to have it be a secret ballot? 

Because... (0.00 / 0)
You would want a secret ballot to protect those who wish to vote against Craddick and not have retribution if he wins...

So in order to get to a secret ballot for that reason, a supposed Craddick supporter would have to vote in public for the secret ballot, thereby exposing themselves.

Keep in mind there are probably no "undecided" votes.  All are on one list or the other, or have lied and are on both lists.  I don't think nor have I heard there is anyone out there who is on both private and public lists as "undecided".  There are just those trying to figure out how to move to the winning team

[ Parent ]
Senfronia is out there moving them right now (5.00 / 1)
Senfronia's stratagem
Rick Casey Houston Chronicle column 1/4/07

Houston state Rep. Senfronia Thompson is one of the Texas Legislature's sharper members.

After 34 years in the House, she knows how the games are played and how to keep score.
An extraordinary foray

There she ensconced herself in the home of longtime community and civil rights activist T.C. Calvert and began making phone calls to constituents of state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon - like Thompson an African-American Democrat.

Thompson asked them to call Jones, who is supporting incumbent Speaker Tom Craddick, and express their anger that she would back the Republican who cut the Children's Health Insurance Program for poor children and was in bed with Tom DeLay. Why wasn't she backing her Democratic sister instead?

I love Senfronia!!  She has got to be the first speaker of the Texas House when we regain control of the Texas Legislature.

[ Parent ]
Hold hands and jump all together (0.00 / 0)
"So in order to get to a secret ballot for that reason, a supposed Craddick supporter would have to vote in public for the secret ballot, thereby exposing themselves."

But if the ABCs can win with a secret ballot, then Craddick won't be able to retaliate.  So all Pitts et al have to do is convince 75 members that if they stick together, voting publicly to have a secret ballot, then voting secretly to dump out Craddick, they are all home free.

What are the chances?

[ Parent ]
If all the Democrats voted in block for the secret ballot (0.00 / 0)
Then they would be joined by enough republicans to win the secret ballot.  Which in turn would give more republicans the "free will" they need to give Craddick the boot.

The first vote is the most important - change the rules!

[ Parent ]
But, ALL of the Democrats are not going to vote together (0.00 / 0)
They just aren't. Too many want to be on the winning team and if they think that's Craddick's team, they'll vote for him. We know who the hard core Dem Craddick supporters are. There may be others who'll vote with him, but haven't spoken up.

We can't even count on the Dems to all vote for the secret ballot. Craddick doesn't want that secret ballot and there will be Dems who will be afraid to cross him on that vote.

[ Parent ]
Demos Coming Home (4.00 / 2)
Kronberg has posted presser from Hopson that he's switched to Pitts.

Mando Martinez has withdrawn pledge from Craddick and waiting for floor vote... with good things to say about Pitts.

More to come, I'm hoping.

Beat me to it... (0.00 / 0)
I was just coming to post this on the thread. Thanks!

Now, a very great man once said that some people rob you with a fountain pen.
[ Parent ]
Oh happy day! (0.00 / 0)
Cradick is bad, he's bad we tell ya.  He's the most corrupt Texas House Speaker ever.

Clean up our Texas House!

[ Parent ]
http://www.quorumrep... (Daily Buzz) has posted "CORPORATE DOLLARS IN CRADDICK RACE?" with a PDF from Vance Miller, Chairman and CEO of Henry S. Miller Companies endorsing Tom Craddick for speaker.

Dialing for Dollars (0.00 / 0)

"Because state law prohibits fundraising during a regular legislative session, if Pitts wins, lobby interests will be unable to make so-called late train donations to him until 20 days after the session ends."

Don't think for one moment those interests are not on the phone. Dialing for dollars. As in if you vote for Craddick, don't expect the dollars.

"Perry spokesman Anthony Holm said Perry makes political donations to both Democrats and Republicans who support a business-friendly agenda. Holm said that will not change if there is a new speaker."

Wonder who those Democrats are?

"A Democratic blog, the Burnt Orange Report, is referring to them as "Craddickheads.""

Every Democrat should follow the example of Senfronia and call their representatives even if it's a Republican represenative. The caller id doesn't say Republican or Democrat.  When push comes to shove, the lobbyists' money doesn't matter much if your constituents threaten not to vote for you again.  So everyone should shove a little.

[ Parent ]
Craddick team backpedalling (3.00 / 1)
So Will Hartnett has sent a letter saying the process is open to discussion...  If I remember correctly, any member can offer any amendment they want at any time, so I'm glad they thought it necessary to remnd the members of that.  Most of the House has forgotten that under Craddick's rule.

Hartnett even mentions that if its a two member race that they could use the voting board.

That's a great idea as long as the motion is:
"Members, vote AYE (green) for Pitts and NAY (red) for Craddick."

At least if Craddick wins, Craddick Dems could say they voted "NO" in the next primary.

Just kidding.

Burro (0.00 / 0)
The way it's going, they could just be better off playing pin the tail on the donkey. If the pin lands on the head, you voted for Pitts. If the pin lands on the ass, well of course you've voted for Craddick.

Endorsed by Halloween marshmallow peeps
[ Parent ]
Pitts charges Craddick with forcing vote method (0.00 / 0)
Selby's column in AAS this morning 1/7/07
Craddick backers seek public vote on speaker; one Democrat defects
"That was the final straw," said Rep. Chuck Hopson of Jacksonville, who told Craddick that he's backing Jim Pitts after learning of a proposal requiring legislators to voice speaker choices in a roll-call vote. The speaker decision is expected to take place shortly after the legislative session begins at noon Tuesday.

Pitts and Craddick have said they'll bow to members' wishes on how the vote occurs.

Although Craddick favors a public vote, Pitts revealed Saturday that he'd prefer a method by which members mark paper ballots that would be made public only after the winner is known.

"That's a whole lot fairer than having somebody stand up and scream who they want," Pitts said.

Hopson said the roll-call idea does not jibe with claims by loyalists to Craddick that the two-term speaker would become a kinder and gentler leader.

"A roll call for speaker is not gentler or kinder," Hopson said.

Kinder, gentler Craddick - ha!  Never going to happen.  If Craddick wins, he's going to be more onery for having been challenged.

[ Parent ]
QR reports MORE CRADDICK EROSION (0.00 / 0)
January 7, 2007  1:07 PM

Will the orchestra drown again? (0.00 / 0)
As you'll recall, the orchestra famously kept playing as the Titanic sank, and it went down with the ship.

Democrats and Republicans clinging to the clearly sinking ship that is Tom Craddick have to ask themselves a question: "Will I go down with the ship?"

Then they ought to ask themselves another question: "Why is Craddick demanding that I go down with him?  Shouldn't he do the classy thing and just quit?"


[ Parent ]

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