Legislative Win Gives Edge to GOP, Craddick

AUSTIN (AP) - A late legislative win for Republicans seems to have secured the GOP majority in the Texas House -- if only by a two-seat margin.

The Associated Press reports the narrow 76-74 majority appears to give momentum back to Tom Craddick of Midland in the volatile speaker's race.

The Irving seat held by Republican Rep. Linda Harper-Brown had not been decided since last week's election.  But after the count of overseas and provisional ballots was completed -- the incumbent held a 20-vote lead over her Democratic challenger.

Craddick's detractors have long complained that he rules the chamber like a dictator and strongarms lawmakers into obedience.

The chaos came to head during last year's legislative session, which ended with the leader from Midland surviving a bitter attempt to overthrow him.  The 150-member House will choose a leader with a vote during the first week of the legislative session, which begins Jan. 13.