The battle to succeed Rod Jetton as Missouri Speaker of the House is heating up, though Jetton will hold that position until January 2009.
The Turner Report, in a post Wednesday, noted the fundraising battle between the two announced contenders, Rep. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, and Rep. Allen Icet, R-Wildwood, a battle which should see both men doing their best to connect with special interests who can provide them with funding to pass along to other representatives and to the House Republican Campaign Committee. Richard got a head start in that area by contributing $25,000 to the HRCC, thanks to a Jan. 2 fundraiser in which he received $45,000, much of it from lobbyists.
Another aspect of the Speaker race, the decision to push the vote up to this fall, is addressed in a thoroughly developed post from Jason Rosenbaum on the Columbia Tribune Political Blog. Jetton says he does not plan to leave his post early:
He added the fact that he is not running for another office - which is another deviation from a trend - could help his party.
"It is problematic when the Speaker who is term-limited and leaving is running for another office. If they're leaving to run for another office, they're usually out fundraising for themselves," Jetton said. "They're usually looking at how issues are going to affect their statewide race. And all that plays into decisions as they're made. The nice thing about me, and the things I think are helpful to the caucus, is I don’t have to worry about positioning myself on any issues for a statewide race. I don’t have to go out and raise money for my own campaign for a statewide race. My focus is how it's been in the last few years is to help lead the House in the best way possible to try to develop a path to issues that our caucus feels are important."