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Head: front-runner, for how long? OBSERVER A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South June Z 1974 500 The speaker’s race Below the belt Austin For a while there it looked as though the campaign for the speakership of the House would turn into a real horse race. Fred Head had the lead coming out of the turn, Carl Parker was moving fast on the rail and Billy Clayton was still running strong, while some of the lesser candidates looked ready to fold near the rear. But then the whole thing turned into your normal vicious, paranoid brawl. We have tried to tell you \(see Obs., for particularly virulent strain of Texas politics. The speakership of the House is generally counted the third most important office in the state, but given our weak-governor system \(not to mention our lieutenant governor of less than overwhelming abilities, it can be the most powerful elective position in Texas. The kind of energy, and money, that is spent in other high-office races to convince 12 million folks of the superiority of one fellow or another is, during speaker’s races, concentrated on 150 people. With the wheelin’ and dealin’ and windmill fixin’ that goes on in the space of one week in a speaker’s race, you can O.D. your average fan of triple-cross spy thrillers. Happily, allegations of bribery have recently arisen. This is a great relief to long-time speaker’s race fans, since there were some early fears that ree-form had ruined the whole sport. However, there is now enough rumor-mongering, lying, double-pledging, intimidation and possible bribery to please even the most critical aficionados. Two days after Speaker Price Daniel, Jr., called in all the speaker candidates to tell them to cool it during