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Monday, February 16, 2009

Committee Assignments and War Paint by the Gallon

Remember I told you the purpose of this blog is to provide an insider’s perspective into what’s shaking at the Capitol? Much of my perspective comes as an insider who finds himself on more phone calls and meetings with folks who are making the news and not from those who seek to report it or arm-chair from the cheap seats of the gallery.

Often it is the case that I will run across some good stuff too good to pass up yet too provoking that I am unable to disclose who told me. So don’t ask me - -I promise it will surface soon enough (probably on someone else’s day old bread website)... Remember the fresh stuff usually comes across my desk before the bread is out of the oven.

Committee Coincidences
Let’s recap last week’s committee assignments and what they really mean. My sources tell me the Speaker’s appointments can be summed up in one word- - 2010 and I am not talking about HB 2010 I am talking about the election of 2010.

Let’s look at are Marginal Races from 2008 which are sure to be hot races in 2010

Carol Kent Crim Jur, Urban Affairs and Rules and Resolutions
Robert Miklos Crim Jur and Urban Affairs
Joseph Moody Crim Jur and Border Affairs
Kristi Thibaut Culture Recreational Resources and Land & Resource
Chris Turner Defense and Veterans and Urban Affairs
Angie Chen Button Appropriations
Todd Hunter Chairman, Civ Jurisprudence, Insurance
Mark Shelton Public Ed and Border Affairs

Do you notice a pattern here? Is it pretty clear that marginal democratic freshmen are going to have a hard time raising money then their Republican marginal counterparts. As for the Ds, each one of them had a tough race and someone on the inside managed to go out of their way to minimize the power of incumbency as we head into the fall.

Speaking of the Fall, isn’t that the time most of us gear up for possible election challenges? Like many, I usually go home and prepare for a possible primary challenge with plenty of data and consultants to boot… Well for many Republicans, it seems like they keep their consultants with them around the clock. For some, it seems that their consultant’s political advice proved magical when it comes to filling out the speaker’s committee preference cards. Some of my friends would take this argument a little further suggesting perhaps the consultant was so effective for his clients he had to have been in the war room making recommendations to Speaker Straus.

A friend of mine has an intriguing matrix of certain Republican colleagues and a list of the House’s most powerful committees (State Affairs, Calendars)…It seems as though my friend figured out that one consultant delivered for every one of his clients except for one.

War Paint by the Gallon
No wonder my D colleagues are seething mad with their committee appointments, they had the wrong consultant on their payroll. Oh well, I guess we D’s have our core issues like CHIP to fall back on…..wait a minute. It seems that darn consultant beat us to the punch again getting another one of his clients to Chair that committee. I guess this guy’s effectiveness is the reason why there are two less Democratic dominated committees this year (10) as compared to Craddick in 2007 (12). So much for shared governance it’s more like shared consultants…