I have been working the phones and visiting with legislators this week in the hopes of providing some insight as to the present score of the House leadership races. I attended the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Murray on Monday night which provided me the opportunity to speak to the 10 legislators who were present. More on that event later.
There seems to be concensus regarding the present mood and beliefs as to what is going on in some of these races. Speaker Jody Richards appears to be safe for another term but there is still a movement by a few to put up an opposition candidate.
The big news seems to be that House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins may step aside to allow Greg Stumbo to be Majority Leader again. I'm told that a majority of House members along with the Governor would like and need Stumbo's experience back at the forefront of legislative matters. Stumbo would appear to be a consensus leader for which House members and the Beshear Administration would both feel comfortable with. Stumbo I'm told could help bridge the divide in the House as well as help the Administration with a legislative agenda. For all this to work it would be up to Majority Leader Adkins. I understand that the Beshear administration may be providing a great deal of lattitude to secure the political future of Rep. Adkins if he would consider such a move.
Legislators in the First and Second Congressional Districts have responded pretty much the same way regarding the race for Pro-tem and House Caucus Chairman. It is believed that the position for House Caucus Chairman will be a close one but I am told that Rep. Bob Damron will win back this position which he lost to Charlie Hoffman.
I was a little surprised but maybe not that Rep. Larry Clark should win easily for re-election as the Speak Pro-Tem. Most West Ky. Legislators did not want to comment on this race risking making the Speaker mad but it was pretty clear by what they did say and the expressions on their face that they may not always agree with Rep. Clark, but they like him, trust him and respect him.
The race for Majority Whip seems to be up in the air. The race is divided by geography with West, Central and East Kentucky all having a stake. Common sense and a map tells me that the Jefferson County delegation will decide who the next Majority Whip will be. Most tell me that John Will Stacey may have the edge right now?