Lines form for speaker’s seat

“We are working hard to elect Republicans to the House,” said Rep. Mark Baker, R-Brandon, when asked if he is running for speaker. Baker said nothing will be determined until after the November general election.

“Anybody who says it will be is wrong,” Baker said.

If Republicans do not garner a majority, a conservative Democrat could obtain Republican votes and enough Democrats to be elected speaker.

That is what Smith almost did in 2008 against McCoy. Smith is running for re-election this year as an independent and will attempt to build that coalition.

But with the 2012 Legislature facing the difficult task of drawing new districts to match population shifts determined by the 2010 census, Democrats might be more prone to stick together this time if they hold on to their majority.

Bobby Moak of Bogue Chitto has been the most discussed candidate on the Democratic side to replace McCoy. But others have been mentioned, including Appropriations Chairman Johnny Stringer of Montrose, Education Chairman Cecil Brown of Jackson, Public Health Chairman Steve Holland of Plantersville and Ways and Means Chairman Percy Watson of Hattiesburg.

Bobby Harrison
NEMS 360
5/29/11