Jones to Challenge Diehl for Speaker
In an email to caucus members this morning, Rep. Caleb Jones announced that he is challenging Rep. John Diehl for speaker. Diehl is the current floor leader, and kicked off his campaign to become speaker during session. Jones is chair of the General Laws Committee; he is also cousin to the current speaker Tim Jones, and son of former state representative Kenny Jones.
The Republican House Caucus vote will take place over Veto Session which is scheduled (first Wednesday following second Tuesday of September) for September 11, about three months away. The winner will be designated “speaker-elect” as Republicans enormous majority is expected to hold in every imaginable election scenario, barring some kind of tsunami.
If successful, Jones would have a four-year term as speaker, a rarity in the term-limited era. And if Rep. Todd Richardson ran for floor leader, as expected, he too would have enjoy four years at that position. It would give unprecedented stability to the House leadership. While that might have appealing characteristics, it may also give Republican House members pause as it locks up their own ability to move up. Diehl is termed in 2016, and would only have two years as speaker.
With no major ideological differences between Diehl and Jones, the election will revolve around style, personality and experience.
More on this in the days and weeks to come….