As noted in the comments yesterday, Senator Don Balfour did not attend the Senate retreat at Little Ocmulgee State Park where Senate Republicans have chosen to change direction in leadership. Jim Galloway has a bit more details this morning regarding the change in tone with the Lt. Governor. While many were telegraphing this change was coming, two areas caused most to go stone cold quiet: What powers would the Lt. Governor regain, and who will be Rules Chairman.
Those that would dare hint at Cagle’s role indicated it would likely end up as a power sharing agreement. Expect the two new leaders of the Senate and Cagle to have a direct role in picking Committee Chairmen instead of a feckless and unaccountable committee of 8.
Without knowing how Committee Chairs will be selected (Senate Rules adoption has been deferred into December), it is harder to determine what the role of Balfour will be. Many behind the scenes have been more vocal that Balfour isn’t likely to return. His decision not only to travel to Vegas rather than attending to the business of the caucus, along with his decision to leave a proxy with the losing side of the battle, is the strongest signal yet he will not return.
Thus, the speculation begins as to his replacement. Right now, it appears Transportation Chairman Jeff Mullis has the upper hand. We’ll see if that was pre-vote posturing or a likely reality soon enough.
For those not sufficiently content to speculate on Rules Chair, feel free to add in who will likely replace Shafer on Regulated Industries, Chance on Economic Development, and Mullis (should this be the direction the Senate decides to go) on Transportation.