Joe Straus, David Simpson, more Texas Speaker Race follies

Rep. David Simpson

Rep. David Simpson

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:

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!


  1. Sally Belladonna Baggins Stricklett says

    I'm not sure where the citizenry of Texas comes in to play, with this game, but it's apparent, prestigious chairmanships and committees, paying off donors, and voting for the power, whether it's good or not, all come first. After all the punishment for not voting for the power is far worse than the punishment that comes in election years.

    • David Jennings says

      The citizenry of Texas is always at play, Sally Belladonna Baggins Stricklett. The idea that somehow politics don't affect politics is naive. We elect our reps, they elect who they want to lead them. I know that you don't like to hear it but the plain truth is that Straus has done a pretty good job in the two sessions that he has been at the helm. He isn't perfect but he's done well. David Simpson has zero qualifications to replace him – no legislative accomplishments whatsoever. If my rep voted for the guy I'd be ticked off. Straus isn't "entitled" to the job but he has done well enough to have earned another shot, especially given the "competition". He is a good man, not corrupt, never a hint of scandal other than some outrageous innuendo by a few detractors, and he has lowered the spending in Texas both sessions he's been in charge. I'll take that every single time.

  2. Jim says

    It does not matter how many bills Simpson brought up that passed. What matters is the content of those bills, the quality of his votes, and his ability to get along with the other reps. All of these are impeccable. Straus on the other hand, is pro-abortion. He wants to expand the size of govt, not cut it drastically. Last session, govt grew and they used accounting gimmicks to balance the budget. This is not leadership, and it does not show “a pretty good job.” Straus needs to go, and Simpson is a great man and rep.

  3. W Joe Deshotel says

    Talking about the speaker's "race" like its an actual competition is more naive then having to listen to how Romney had a chance….ever.

  4. says

    The problem is that your obvious moderate view if flawed from the start as usual. It leaves out the fact that this one vote for Speaker affects every piece of legislation as well as determine what legislation will be allowed to work its way through the house or die in the Calendar Committee which Joe Strauss controls and always appoints a liberal Democrat as chair. That is how we end up with a supper majority of reps in the House and a Majority in the Senate and end with with almost all conservative legislation being intentionally held in committee and not voted out to the floor for a vote, or in the case of the TSA. this fair" and balanced" the Speaker illegally gavels out that there is not a quorum present less than ten minutes after he just declared that there was a quorum., or the bill dies in Calendars. Or, and this is the best, they pass it on one side of the house knowing there is an agreement with the head of the other side of the house that they will kill it. This way everybody gets their talking points that they passed this or that but was killed on the other side. Hummmm, I seem to remember that Rep Davis tried to use that exact same argument on Monday night. the problem was there were those of us there that watched that game play out and know it for the lie that it is. THE PEOPLE OF TEXAS HAVE NOT REPRESENTATION IN THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE AS LONG AS WE HAVE JOE STRAUSS AND SPEAKER AND DEWHURST AS LT. GOV. AND THE PEOPLE KNOW IT. YOU CAN TRY TO SPIN IT ANY WAY YOU WISH MR. JENNINGS FACTS ARE STUBBORN THINGS , THEY NEVER CHANGE AND THEY KEEP TURNING UP DON'T THEY!

    • David Jennings says

      Moderate view? I thought I was a liberal. Dang, you guys need to get together on that so I'll know what I am.