Large and late developments in this sudden race for House Speaker, on the eve of a Friday gathering of the Republican caucus:
State Rep. David Ralston of Blue Ridge, the attorney who unsuccessfully challenged Glenn Richardson for the leadership position last year, pulled the trigger on his candidacy just a few minutes ago in a note to House Republicans.
Wrote north Georgia lawmaker:
“Georgians expect us to do better and be about their business – not that of the lobbyists or special interests. They expect us to do the right thing and do it in an open and honest manner.
“Challenging issues await us in mere days: the budget, transportation, water and others. These issues will require strong and steady leadership. But we must also have leadership with the courage to stand up to other politicians and the special interests to bring true reform to the Georgia House and to lead the way – not simply follow – in enacting meaningful improvements in our ethics laws.”
– If you didn’t catch the candidacy pitch made by state Rep. Larry O’Neal of Houston County, posted this afternoon, click here.
– State Rep. Chuck Martin of Alpharetta), who carries some weight in the House, is calling on his fellow Republicans to bypass any caucus contest for speaker and open up the election to a single vote on the House floor.
In other words, he has endorsed a bipartisan election that would let Democrats participate.
“This is a time for all Georgians to see the entire process and for all members to be included,” Martin said in a just-released statement.
The north Fulton lawmaker, who says he is not a candidate for speaker at this time, is encouraging the defeat of any attempt on Friday to force a quick caucus vote to pick a Republican candidate for speaker.
A majority of the House GOP caucus, about 53 members, could do so. The House has a total of 180 members.
“These are uncharted times and as a result it is more important than ever to engage all members of the Georgia House in the process and earn the trust of all Georgians,” Martin said.
– State Rep. Jan Jones of Alpharetta has just announced that she’ll be running for the No. 2 spot, House speaker pro tem. State Rep. Rich Golick of Smyrna, former floor leader for Gov. Sonny Perdue, is in the same race.
But Jones’ candidacy for speaker pro tem means that no woman will be running for the top job in the House. Which would have made the race very, very interesting.
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