West Texas Catholic Tom Craddick of Midland retains speakership

AUSTIN  — Republican Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick fended off a coup attempt Tuesday by one of his former GOP allies, solidifying a levislative reign that’s come under criticism as too heavy-handed and undemocratic.

Craddick retained his powerful legislaive post after Rep. Jim Pitts, a Waxahachie Republican, dropped his bid to oust Craddick.

Craddick, who won the leadership post in January 2003 and became the first Republican to hold the job in 130 years, insisted through Tuesday’s opening day of the Legislature that he had the votes to remain in power.

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