Yesterday State Representative Dawnna Dukes made this statement in response to a rumor that she pledged to Speaker candidate Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview).
State Representative Dawnna Dukes' statement on Texas House of Representatives Speaker's Race:
(Austin, TX) – Recently, an anonymous blog has reported I've committed to supporting Representative David Simpson in his bid to replace Speaker Joe Straus as the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. These reports are false and at no time have I stated my support for Rep. Simpson.
As Abraham Lincoln so famously proclaimed, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” While not new, resorting to dirty political tricks such as postings by anonymous, unattributed blogs only furthers to deepen the divide amongst all members of the Texas Legislature regardless of their political affiliation.
In the future, if anyone has questions regarding my position on any issue, including the Speakers race, I welcome you to contact me directly. To the source responsible for this anonymous post, shame on you. Texas deserves better.
While Dukes doesn't claim that she pledged Straus, it does point to the problem with Rep. David Simpson's speaker candidacy: no one under the dome is willing to publicly support him, save former speaker candidate Rep. Hughes (R-Mineola).
If you are going to have a formidable speaker candidacy, it is important to have a named coalition of the willing. The 12 anti-Craddick D's who came together to elect Speaker Straus back in 2009 were practically famous. (Remember? The ABCs and ABCDs – Anyone But Craddick, and their Democratic counterparts.) Yet this group was unique in that they were not all running for speaker, or backing one candidate in particular, but the only thing that united them was that they could not support Craddick for speaker again. Simpson needs something like this to garner any kind of legitimacy from here on out.
Some people have criticized Rep. Simpson for being too young, as he just completed his freshman year last session. Straus was just as young, but was a little more well known. The problem with Simpson is that if he is to be taken seriously he needs some legislators to speak out on his behalf, and he needs to show why he is a better alternative than Straus, not just attack him.
Until Rep. Simpson starts to make sense on why he is a better choice and release some supporters names that actually reside in the Texas House, he's not really running a race at all.