Speaker's Race Gets Interesting

The Charlotte Observer has an interesting article about the speaker's race this morning. According to the article:

Black's withdrawal launched a scramble for votes by at least seven Democrats vying to succeed him. The contest is so wide open that Democrats are debating how the votes will be taken, as well as who receives them. Candidates and key lawmakers shuttled in and out of Black's corner suite at the Legislative Building all day long, ordering in pizza like a campaign war room.

Ordering in pizza? Sounds like a high stress situation to me....or not.

The article goes on to say how powerful the speaker is. I guess they thought nobody in North Carolina was aware of Jim Black and his power. That's just it, though. The power goes with the seat and we need to make sure the person selected will know how to wield that power to the benefit of the North Carolinians who aren't warming seats in the North Carolina General Assembly.

Fortunately, the Observer provides us with a list.

Other than (Dan) Blue, the announced Democrats running are: Jim Crawford of Granville County, Bill Faison of Orange County, Joe Hackney of Orange County, Hugh Holliman of Davidson County, Mickey Michaux of Durham County and Drew Saunders of Mecklenburg County.

Several of these names have been mentioned here on BlueNC. Most would probably do a fine job. With enough transparency in our government, probably all would do a great job.

There was one other quote that caught my eye. I don't care if he is a Black supporter, Uncle Pryor sounds like a hoot.

"Our caucus is a big family and we've got a bunch of crazy aunts and uncles up in the attic, and I'm one of 'em," said Rep. Pryor Gibson, D-Anson, a close ally of Black. "We've got to bring them all down and hash it out. There's gonna be a lot of heinie-chewin'."

So, out of the group listed above, who do you support?


Heck...I think I want

Pryor Gibson. He's funny. :)

I have to run go do the Christmas gift buying thing for a while. Y'all hold down the fort.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I go with...

whomever is the most progressive. Does anyone know who that is? Although, I also kinda like that Uncle Pryor. lol!

Joe Hackney

is the choice for people who care about all of North Carolina. He actually has a website that says what he thinks, and what he thinks is a dream come true for the common good:

Pro education
Pro environment
Pro choice

I don't know whether Joe can be elected or not, and I don't really care. I'm supporting him on principle. I've had enough of compromising and trying to work through the political calculus of horse-trading and back-scratching.

Is Joe perfect? Of course not. I disagree with him about plenty of things. But he's effective and honest. And I'll take that any day.

And Dan Blue, of course.

I haven't been able to get a good sense on Mr. Blue's positions these days since he's been out of the limelight for such a long time. But Chris Fitzsimon from NC Policy Watch, was his speech writer way back when. That's a big plus in my book (unless the two had a parting of ways).

Thanks for the info

Blue or Hackney both sound like excellent choices but I need to do more research on both.

I think Blue tried to position himself as a fighter for working families but I have not looked at his actual voting record.

My vote is

for Hackney. And please put Faison near the bottom - very conservative guy.

Some thoughts from an

Some thoughts from an "insider" who's judgment I trust:

The end result is going to be moderate government. No one from the right/center is going to be able to stay speaker without doing some things for the environment. And no one from the left/center is going to be able to stay speaker without doing some things for business.

All bets are off if a deal gets cut with the Party of Greed by someone who doesn’t have the majority in the Democratic caucus.

I touched on the possibility

I touched on the possibility of Bill Faison cutting a deal with the Republicans in a July column:

The more likely scenario, though, goes back to the independent streak Faison showed during the 2005 legislative session. His voting with the Republican caucus on the budget shows some ability for him to form alliances across party lines.

If the 2006 election ends up with a Democratic majority of say, 63-57 in the House, Faison would only need to bring four Democrats with him to cut a deal with the Republicans that would make him speaker. It's not unprecedented -- Joe Mavretic put together a bipartisan coalition to earn the top spot for one term in 1989.

The full column is here

Based on the results of last month's election it would take nine Democrats to organize with the full Republican caucus for someone to become Speaker that way. I've heard speculation that in addition to Faison, Jim Crawford is a possible person to make such a deal.

Nine is a big number

Four I could see, but nine seems like a pretty big stretch. I can easily imagine all the Republican caucus holding tight because they really have no other path to power.

All that said, the arrogance that would be required to make such a move is truly mind boggling.

The GOP caucus will not hold togather.

I do think that a deal will be cut with a faction of the GOP similiar to what Jim Black did with the Richard Morgan faction. There are still factions of the GOP who are not with the Art Pope faction who will work the Conservative Democrats the question is will Dan Blue also try to cut the same deal he did in 1999. Either way some ofthe GOP will have a say in the matter.

Republicans stick together???

I am worried about the possibility of Republicans sticking together and cutting a deal, but only because I am paranoid.

First, they have no one to stand behind. That is a serious hinderance. Second, they cant stand together on anything else, why would the speaker issue be different? Third, many within the Republican caucus were elected because they were opposed to the very idea of bipartisanship. You are telling me that people who would beat up Richard Morgan if given the chance to not get caught would do what he did? Really?


"Keep the Faith"

Wouldn't it be ironic

if Hairdresser Boylan double-crossed Puppetmaster Pope and joined forces to put a Dem in the speaker's seat! Then all of Pope's money would truly have been flushed.

Second, they cant stand together on anything else, why would the speaker issue be different?

I suppose the speaker issue might be different for the very reason that they can't stand together on anything else. Don't get me wrong, I'm surely not hoping they somehow find unanimity on anything.

Uh, that's not happening right now,

and may not for a while. They are disjointed, disgruntled and distressed. Blue has worked with them before, and was supported by them, but that was in response to Balck. Crawford has a good chance because NC FREE has labled him as pro-business.

The was even rumor floating around that some in the GOP were going to support Black again, but that is moot at this point.

NC Spin's take

This week's NC Spin newsletter has a lot about Jim Black. He was working the phone pitching for Speaker as late as this weekend but couldn't get enough commitments. The "page" story was probably a tipping point for some.

House Democrats ..... finally started “getting it.”
The first was that there really was more going on behind closed doors than they knew about. They had been led to believe this was all a media assassination attempt.
It began to dawn on many that maybe there really was something to all the charges about the way the House did business and the way the man who led it blessed it or allowed it.
The second revelation to House Democrats was that perhaps the growing rumors of Black’s indictment were right.
Finally, House Democrats finally saw that this media “noise” wasn’t going away. Every few days there was going to be another revelation, another nuance, another news story about Black. It would continue until either Black was indicted or was no longer holding the gavel.

And in the category of "Lessons Learned" the following observation that brings a wry smile:

The media can take a lesson from the Jim Black saga. Too much of the information uncovered against Black came from private individuals and research groups. The media is charged with being a vigilant watchdog, unwilling to accept everything at face value. The media came late to the Jim Black party. Granted, they showed up, and once on the case pursued it. But people close to the legislature knew of abuses long before the media took note.

As to replacement, NC Spin ranks Saunders and Blue as top contenders and possibly co-Speakers if Blue can't get enough votes. Other possibilities are Hackney who has some commitments, Crawford, Holliman and Michaux. Black apparently is pitching for Marian McLawhorn and Nelson Cole as co-Speakers while Saunders may be seen as a clone of Black (an asset and liability in lining up support). McLawhorn and Cole along with Michaux were the trio appointed by Black to run the Rules Committee in the last session.

NC Spit

Several people well beyond the walls of BlueNC have written to me to say that NC Spit's weekly update is malicious and full of shit, rumors started with the express purpose of tilting the balance and shaping the agenda.

The only thing I read in today's version that caught my attention was a commentary that Dan Blue is squeaky clean. That's the second time I've heard that today.

Which causes me to reiterate my top two preferences in alphabetical order:

Dan Blue and Joe Hackney.


PS I found this interesting note on the NC Spit email:

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Imagine a company spending up to $10,000 a year to be associated with irresponsible rumor-mongering. Gotta love those free-markets!

Blue or Hackney

My preference, no particular order. Actually there was a time when I didn't know so much about the legislature and Joe Hackney was so prominent I thought he was the Speaker, or some equivalent.

I've heard similar things about NC Spin. I ran out of caveats when I posted.

Related but separate, Brad Crone sure gets quoted a lot in N&O and CO. Is he the source de jour or just the only one willing to go on the record?