Election season is not over yet. There’s another big contest left, the race inside the Republican House Caucus to be the next Speaker of the House. The campaign is not public of course. It is all happening behind the scenes and has been going on for months.
Here’s what we know so far from sources inside the Raleigh beltline.
There are two leading candidates, Rep. Leo Daughtry from Johnston County and Rep. Tim Moore from Cleveland County. There were several other candidates running for a while, most notably Rep. Mike Hager from Rutherford County, Rep. John Blust from Guilford County, and Rep. Bryan Holloway from Stokes County.
Moore, the House Rules Chairman under Speaker Thom Tillis, was very active during the recent campaign, going door to door for Republican candidates and giving more than $250,000 from his campaign to the state Republican Party and to individual Republicans’ campaigns.
Daughtry, with 11 terms in the House after serving two in the Senate, has held most of the leadership posts other than Speaker in his legislative career and has promised not to use the office as a springboard. Daughtry ran for governor in 2000 but failed to win the Republican nomination. He’s clearly playing the role of the steady senior statesman in the race, if there is such a thing.
Neither Moore nor Daughtry are closely identified with the Tea Party wing of House Republicans. If they have a candidate, it would most likely be Hager, a former Duke Energy employee who has spoken out prominently on environmental issues in the House, almost always siding with corporate interests.
But the Speaker’s race is more like an election to student council than an important statewide political post. It’s as much about relationships, political favors, and personality as much as ideology.