The curious battle over voter identification and early voting in the state Senate has left Senate Republicans bruised and curious about just who’s setting the agenda in that chamber.
The longtime political model in the state Senate has been that a strong lieutenant governor appointed the committee chairman and thereby wielded strong control over the fate of key issues. senators who stepped out of line with the lieutenant governor usually didn’t get leadership positions and usually didn’t get much done for their districts, either.
That was the case under former lieutenant governors Brad Dye, Eddie Briggs, Ronnie Musgrove and Amy Tuck. But the current voter ID debacle suggests that we may be operating in a very different model under current Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant.
Questions about the strength of Bryant’s leadership began last week when state Sen. Merle Flowers led the Senate Elections Committee to kill the election reform bill that would have finally given Mississippi voter identification. Flowers and his cohorts did so over the objections of Bryant’s Senate Election’s Committee chairman Sen. Terry C. Burton, R-Newton.
Flowers joined with fellow GOP Sens. Billy Hewes, Joey Fillingane and Chris McDaniel to kill the election reform bill that House Republicans worked hard to craft.
How unhappy were House Republicans?