The Clarion-Ledger Editorial, 9/5/7

While from a numerical standpoint the goal of the race for speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives is for one candidate to get to the magic 62-vote commitment from 50 percent plus one of the House’s 122 members, the membership’s goal is to keep the vote “off the board.”

There are two ways of electing a House speaker. First, one candidate can gain so many commitments and such a groundswell of support that the challengers withdraw and everyone agrees to support the leading candidate – allowing a very congenial, orderly transition of power that allows everyone to save political face.

The other way is a close race that forces House members to fight to the last vote for their candidate and for a close vote or succession of close votes to be recorded on the House voting board – leaving winners and losers alike angry, divided and facing a long period of political fence mending.