The conventional knowledge seems to be that unless the R's pick up a few seats in the House, and assuming she wins her seat, Karen Minnis is doomed to defeat as Speaker and destined to be dethroned so to speak. These rumors have only been fueled in recent days by the departure of key staff in her office.
This leaves loads of conjecture about who is jockeying to replace her. Of course Wayne Scott's name comes up, but maybe he's telling the truth- he's happy where he is...content to rule the campaigns and the purse strings, the real power behind the throne, or maybe the iron fist is coming down as we write.
Flores' name has been thrown around as one who covets the spot. But what got us thinking about speaker politics was the letter sent to representatives last week written by the energetic and progressive Peter Buckley and Sal Esquivel, equally energetic, not a progressive. Their intentions, they say are a "sincere attempt to address the exact points of contention in the process and suggest solutions."
Interestingly, what they propose is that each member gets two priority bills heard and voted on in committee. This is huge to legislators too long in the minority. It's the equivalent to a tall cool drink of water on a hot day, to a cup of cocoa on a cold afternoon, it's the holy grail- getting bills heard is the perogative of the majority. It's the heart of control.
So what does Sal want? Why is a guy in the majority "passing out" priority bill hearings and votes like candy? Could it be that he wants to make new friends to sit with at lunch. Or is something more sinister occuring- Is Sal trying to build bridges with the democrats to win a coalition speakership?
If so, pretty smart, nothing like offering the now and future minority legislators a voice. But it raises a more interesting question D's probably aren't ready to consider in their courageous quest to 31- If the D's can't take back the House, who would they most like as Speaker? Is there a progressive Republican in the House that can bring a few votes and shake up the leadership? Do we have a second bite at the apple if Merkley and crew fail to bring home the bacon?