I’ve spent much of the morning trying to confirm rumors about the unrest in the House Republican Caucus. From what I’ve got so far, the caucus wants leadership replaced before the start of the session.
A motion could be made on Friday to hold a vote as soon as December 21st. However, Majority Leader Jerry Keen has consulted lawyers to try to prevent this from happening, knowing that a majority of the caucus has no confidence in his ability to lead effectively. From what I was told, Keen is trying to rearrange chairs on the Titanic.
While Larry O’Neal is perceived to be the “safe” pick for Speaker, many members of the House are leery of supporting someone with such close ties to Sonny Perdue. The way this has been put to me by several people is why should the House give 40 years of independence to the Governor overnight.
Also, there is concern about even the perception of ethics issues. The fact that O’Neal is the author of legislation that gave Gov. Perdue a retroactive $100,000 tax break doesn’t sit well with many in the caucus. The scrutiny that any prospective candidate is going to receive may be enough to scare members away from supporting someone like O’Neal.
Separately, members of the 216 Group, which makes up anywhere from 20 to 25 members of the caucus, are looking at becoming players in leadership elections.
They are considering a slate with Rep. Barry Loudermilk at the top and are also toying around with the idea of sending a survey to potential candidates for leadship posts asking whether they would support bringing 216 Group backed legislation to the floor for a vote, which had been blocked by leadership in the past.
I am not saying any of this certain, just relaying things I’ve heard over the past several hours from reliable sources.