The Commercial Dispatch, 11/17/7

Rep. Jeff Smith of Columbus is not conceding defeat in his bid to become leader of the House, but the man he wants to oust continues to declare victory.

“I am still very much in the speaker’s race,” Smith said Friday.

He said he’s got 60 representatives in the 122-member House lined up for him.

However, House Speaker Billy McCoy of Rienzi has named at least 63 members who promise to vote for him in January, when the new state Legislature begins its four-year term.