With Steve Holland Voting For Gunn…
By virtue of being the choice of the Republican caucus for Speaker of the House, Philip Gunn has received titles such as Speaker-Designate or more simply Republican nominee. That is because he still needs to receive a majority of the 122-member chamber to officially receive the title.
But with news on Tuesday that Steve Holland will join George Flaggs in voting for Gunn, we might as well refer to Gunn as Speaker-elect. On the Gallo show Tuesday morning, Holland, one of the most vocal and liberal Democrats in the House, announced he would support the Republican nominee. Flaggs had made similar statements earlier, and confirmed his intention once again.
So here is what this means: any talk of a D-R coalition is out the window. There had been rumors that some Democrats had approached Reps. Jeff Smith and Herb Frierson, I am assuming separately, about such a coalition. I didn’t think something like this would be possible just because of the generally disorganization of the Democratic Party, but I have also heard that Gunn received confirmation from Smith and Frierson that nothing like this exists.
Basically, Democrats, or at least the smart ones, realize they don’t have the votes in any way, shape or form and are looking for the best path forward. They must be feeling that if they don’t make a run and lose, ala Jeff Smith and that coalition in 2008, they won’t be shut out as Smith and his supporters were after coming up short. And that’s not the worst strategy in the world.
But how will these formerly powerful Democrats be treated? Johnny Stringer, chairman of Appropriations who has been in the legislature for 32 years, acknowledged that he won’t be back in that position with the new leadership and is destined for a basement office.
I do expect some Democrats to receive chairs. Nothing of significance, but when you have as many committee’s as the House does, you run into math problems. Plus, at least you can say you appointed Democrats even if it’s for something of no real importance. Billy McCoy couldn’t say as much.
As for Stringer, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him retire. Holland has already said this will be his last term. He will serve it out, but isn’t resigning early. As I have said all along, look for others particularly the last of these Yellow Dogs.
These districts, Holland and Stringer in particular, represent two that can really be worked on to give the GOP an opportunity to win in each. Right now, their BVAP is around 40 percent, basically designed with the intention of electing white Democrats. With retirements, it makes major changes a little easier but these are the type of districts the GOP should re-work to expand their majority. We will just have to wait and see what redistricting brings. We don’t even know who the chairs will be at this point.