There may be an uprising in the State Senate Democratic Caucus over the leadership of Senate President Dave McBride and his whip Nicole Poore. With Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry retiring, McBride and Poore want to prevent any effort by their detractors to organize the new Senators, Tizzy Lockman, Trey Paradee, Darius Brown and Laura Sturgeon, against them.
The News Journal reported last week that Senator David Sokola may be interested in running against Poore for the Majority Leader position. If Poore does run, that will cause an election for the Whip position, and the News Journal indicated that Senator Jack Walsh may run for that spot. Are there other candidates to run?
There are 12 Democrats in the Senate caucus now. I am making assumption here that caucus rules allow for simple majority elections among their members for their leadership. So a majority of the caucus is 7 votes. I would imagine the Leadership ticket of McBride-Poore-Walsh would garner their 3 votes and then the votes of McDowell, Ennis and possibly Paradee. That’s 6. That 7th vote would have to come from some new or more progressive Senators in Lockman, Sokola, Hansen, Townsend, Sturgeon or Brown.
Who knows, by the time I publish this the meeting might have been held and this will all be mute, but for political junkies, it is fun to game plan this out.
On the House side, there have been some rumblings of a challenge to the House Leadership team of Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf and/or House Majority Leader Val Longhurst. But now I am hearing those plans may no longer be afoot. Pete Schwartzkopf is going to remain Speaker until he is defeated by his caucus or retires. And no one is going to challenge him unless they can be assured of winning. You don’t come at the king unless you know you are going to win, because, like Pete has done before, he can make your life a legislative hell by putting you on all the worst committees and shelving your sponsored bills. Plus, Pete probably needs the Speakership position to keep his seat in the 14th RD down there in Sussex. His district is like a blue island in a sea of red.
Val Longhurst will remain Majority Leader for as long as the caucus will have her, but I am hearing she may have gubernatorial aspirations in 2024.
On the Republican side, both the House and Senate Republican caucuses need new Whips, as both Lavelle and Hudson lost last night. And the Senate needs a new minority leader as Gary Simpson is retiring. I would imagine, in the House, that Ruth Briggs King, already a visible Republican during bill signings and other events concerning the General Assembly, will be a good candidate for House Whip. Plus, the GOP will want to have a woman in leadership lest their cranky old white guy image be set in stone. In the Senate, I can see Ernie Lopez or Gerald Hocker stepping up for the Leader and Whip posts. In what order I have no clue. If Lopez wants to follow the Lavelle path and lose his next election, he will definitely become Leader.