STARKVILLE — While the intensifying race for a new speaker of the Mississippi House is getting most of the attention, the speaker’s race is only one component of the wholesale changes coming to the Capitol after the November general election.
First is the administration of a new governor to replace the term-limited Gov. Haley Barbour.
Barbour has by his political skills and the installation and enforcement of Washington-style party discipline been able to operate as a far stronger governor than the powers afforded a Mississippi governor in the 1890 state constitution truly allows.
After the Nov. 8 race between Republican Phil Bryant and Democrat Johnny DuPree is decided, voters will learn whether the era of the strong governor over.
Will party loyalty trump personal ambitions at the Capitol or will state government return to the previous model in which the House speaker and the lieutenant governor wield the most significant power in state government?