House already looks to 2013 speaker's race | Arkansas Blog

House already looks to 2013 speaker's race

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Both Jason Tolbert and Roby Brock are gnawing on the question of who'll be the next House speaker. Traditionally, the matter is effectively decided two years in advance by campaigning among members.

But the 2012 election could give Republicans majority control of the House. An election of a provisional speaker on a party-line vote would seem to me a waste of time with party alignment of the legislature in doubt. For that reason, I think I'll let others chew over the hot-stove question of who the current favorites might be. Rep. Darrin Williams, who's one of the most visible early contenders, might find a new political path through congressional re-districting, however. With a heavily Democratic House, he'd have been a strong candidate to be speaker in 2013 and poised for a run for statewide office, say attorney general, in 2014. But should the designs of some to build a 2nd Congressional District with a strong black percentage come to pass, he might have an earlier option for elevation.

Sounds like Terry Rice and John Burrus are tussling on the House side as Republican contenders. Rice, who conceivably could line up some Democratic support, thus could benefit from an election process that followed existing rules — election of the next speaker by current members.

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