by Max Brantley
It's kind of simple. If Republicans end up with 51 seats out of 100, as most expect, they'll elect Rep. Terry Rice as speaker. Democratic Rep. Darrin Williams, chosen as speaker designate when Democrats were in control, would be denied the historic seat as the first African-American speaker of the Arkansas House.
One wrinkle as you'll see from the release on the election procedure, which is being requested by a bipartisan petition of Democrats and Republicans:
Republicans will first have to vote AGAINST Darrin Williiams' re-election. Then, they may choose a speaker of their choice from any nominees, who'll have a chance to speak for themselves.
The repudiation of Williams' historic election in favor of a man chosen for partisan Republican reasons will be televised at noon, Thursday, Nov. 15 on the House website.
Read the full release on the jump:
Arkansas House Speaker Robert S. Moore, Jr. notified members of the General Assembly today that he has scheduled an organizational meeting for noon on November 15 for the purpose of the re-election of Speaker-elect Darrin Williams.
Arkansas Code allows the Speaker to set a date for a re-election if he is served with a petition signed by 51 or more members claiming the formal election of the Speaker of the 89th General Assembly is in doubt.
“Today I was served with petitions with the needed signatures. Both Democrats and Republicans signed petitions in an effort to have this matter resolved in a timely and bi-partisan fashion,” said Moore.
Speaker Moore informed members that if Speaker-elect Darrin Williams does not receive the 51 votes needed to serve as Speaker of the 89th General Assembly, a new election process will immediately take place.
“Speaker-elect Darrin Williams and I both agree this should be an open and transparent process. His willingness to have this issue resolved is what prompted him to ask Democrats to help provide the needed signatures,” said Moore.
New nominees for Speaker-elect must be declared from the membership of 89th General Assembly. New nominees will be afforded an opportunity to address the membership.
The proceedings will be broadcast on www.arkansashouse.org beginning at noon on Thursday.