Race for speaker of the House begins in earnest today

With Tuesday’s primary elections removing a layer of doubt over just who will comprise the 122 members of the Mississippi House in 2012, the “other” race that’s under way for a major leadership post advanced this week.

Under the 1890 Mississippi Constitution, the power in state government resides in the Legislature with the governor enjoying far less authority. For more than a century, that was the way of things at the Capitol.

Gov. Haley Barbour turned that on its head during his two terms by Washington-style party discipline, by the force of his own power within the state’s GOP, and the fear of his intervention in the races of individual members. Barbour particularly held sway in the Senate, where Republicans held a 27-to-25 majority before the death of Sen. Jack Gordon, D-Okolona, earlier this year.

Sid Salter