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December 10, 2012      3:19 PM


Does Simpson's challenge change any dynamics?

David Simpson’s formal entry into the world of Speaker politics promises to make things a little livelier for journalists over the next month and will certainly coarsen the political rhetoric in the blogosphere, but beyond that it has little other significance in the grand scheme of things.

First, let’s stipulate that David Simpson is a serious person who surprised many with his upset win over Tommy Merritt in 2010.  He did it by knocking on doors and tapping an anti-incumbent sentiment with a constitutionalist message that resonated against a lawmaker who seemed unaware that the firmament had shifted.  He further capitalized on that sentiment with his anti-pat down bill last session that transformed him into a cause celebre’ in the Tea Party subset of Republican voters. His most important political skill is relentless persistence demonstrated in both his campaign as well as in endless cornering of members to lobby for his bill last session.

However, Simpson’s speaker play is not fueled by a partisan shift in the House as was the transition from Pete Laney to Tom Craddick.  Nor is it fueled by any broad based dissatisfaction by lawmakers with Joe Straus as was the Republican lead insurrection that deposed Tom Craddick.

No, Simpson’s primary constituency is the manufactured outrage industry that exists outside and independent of the Texas House.  He is an organizing principle and maybe even a fundraising vehicle for some of the groups.  His celebrity in that universe will be enhanced by his quixotic challenge of Straus, but the chances of success are …remote at best.

Here is the back of the napkin math: