By FITSNews || Fresh off of a rare hand-holding ceremony with his longtime antagonist, S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford, House Speaker Bobby Harrell is flexing his new-found political muscle this week by telling state lawmakers that he has “112 commitments” in his pocket in the race for Speaker … which, if true, would obviously mean there wouldn’t be a race for Speaker.
After all, there are only 124 members in the House … total.
But is Harrell’s count accurate? Or is he merely trying to take advantage of his recent “economic development” win with Sanford to dissuade anyone from challenging him?
Frankly, we think the Speaker needs to reset his abacus and start from zero.
Several lawmakers who received calls from Harrell this week tell FITS that his count is “months old” and that the Speaker has suffered a substantial erosion in support in recent weeks – particularly among House Democrats. Also, two lawmakers who are reportedly among Harrell’s “112 commitments” tell FITS that they will support House Judiciary Chairman Jim Harrison in the event he challenges Harrell.
They say they are not alone, either.
Both lawmakers tell FITS that they received a call from the Speaker this week warning them that they could not back out of commitments that they had made to him previously. Harrell did not ask them if they were still committed to him, mind you, he merely instructed them that they would not be released from their prior commitments.
“It was the same ‘my-way-or-the-highway’ approach as always,” one Representative said.
True. But it also sounds to us like Harrell is a guy preparing for a real challenge … not someone with 90 percent of the House in his pocket.
Three GOP lawmakers – including powerful Speaker Pro Tempore Harry Cato – went down earlier this month in Republican primary races. Two additional GOP incumbents were beaten in runoff elections this week. Those losses have weakened Harrell’s standing in the GOP Caucus, as has his ongoing “tax-and-spend” approach to government. Harrell is also a mortal enemy of S.C Rep. Nikki Haley – the newly-minted GOP gubernatorial nominee and most popular politician in the state right now.
Add all of that up and you’ve got trouble.
Anyway, Harrell’s weakened position was on display last week when the candidate he chose to replace the defeated Harry Cato as Speaker Pro Tempore was forced to withdraw from the race given a lack of support within the caucus.
Yeah … about those 112 votes …
Anyway, assuming Harrison decides to challenge Harrell, the vote would take place in December of this year at a special organizational session of the House.
Stay tuned …