Good Day For Bryant And The GOP
As we noted shortly after the vote, Republicans prevailed in a 29-18 vote to Invite Conference on J.R. 201. Two Democrats sided with 27 Republican Senators on the issue following a threat from Speaker Billy McCoy that he will ignore what the Senate does. FireMcCoy.com has some of the floor speeches leading up to the vote. Some quick thoughts:
** First, this is a major win for Phil Bryant. A week ago, after Bryant’s alternative map fell well short in the chamber, Democrats and the media went on the attack sensing a weakness in the lieutenant governor. A vote to Concur would have been a second major loss in a row. But, that would obviously not be the case. Bryant- with the strong backing of conservatives (who will be voting in the GOP primary) – came through, simple as that.
Whatever the press says about Bryant is too be determined, but he certainly delivered a win for conservatives in this case. Whether it was because of his leadership or not, when you are in that position and things go your way you get the credit.
** Just like Democrats wouldn’t have been pushing so hard for their House maps if they thought it was a wash, Republicans wouldn’t have taken their chances either with rejecting it. Republicans knew what the House maps meant and what they would do and like there chances better with courts, running twice, or whatever else may happen. The Reynolds map is a worse case scenario for Republicans, and they look like they have avoided it.
** Billy McCoy’s threats obviously hold little water to Senate Republicans. I am not saying by any stretch that Republicans win a majority this fall in the House, but this sounds like a man who has lost it, has been out maneuvered again and appears to be on his last leg as Speaker.
** If McCoy holds strong on his promise to ignore conference than this is a moot point, but wanted to speak on the Senate conferees for a minute. Sen. Terry Burton, who has chaired the process on the Senate side, hasn’t always agreed with Bryant throughout this process but I see no way in which he doesn’t get a seat there from Bryant. He may worry some Republicans with his previous public support for the House Democrats plan, but I see him getting a seat if that comes next. It would be a major shakeup if he didn’t.
** Statement from Haley Barbour on today’s vote: “Congratulations to Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and the Senate for protecting the interests of all Mississippi voters. I hope the conference committee will craft a House plan that treats voters in every district the same.”