Jason Rosenbaum's Columbia Tribune political blog looks into some southwest Missouri positioning for the future that will happen later this year.
Speculation has a victory for Rep. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, in the race to succeed Rod Jetton as speaker of the house could position him to replace term limited Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, in 2010.
Since the speaker vote is conducted by secret ballot, the blog also notes the real possibility that some Joplin-area representatives may cast their ballots against Richard to keep him from having a platform for three years on which to base a candidacy for the Senate:
Assuming that the Republicans keep control of the House – not a sure thing – the candidate that manages to prevail could see an immediate boost in legislative sway, name recognition and – most likely – fundraising ability. Those are characteristics that could come in handy if the next step in Richard or Icet’s political career is the state Senate.
But Icet and Richard aren’t the only state representatives who could contend for the open seats. The House delegations that encompass Nodler and Greisheimer’s Senate districts are exclusively compromised of Republican legislators. And those individuals could also want a shot to move to the Senate.
So when the members of those particular delegations step in to vote for the next Speaker, there could be a situation where Joplin lawmakers are voting for Icet and the Franklin/St. Louis County lawmakers are voting for Richard. Since the vote is by secret ballot, though, it might not be known whether this will happen.
Being the Speaker of the House, though, isn't always a stepping stone to another office. Democratic Speaker Steve Gaw and Republican Speaker Catherine Hanaway both failed in their statewide bids. Jim Kreider was defeated in his bid for state Senate.