|| By FITSNEWS || S.C. Speaker of the House Jay Lucas was among the 110 members of his chamber to vote in favor of bringing up the Confederate flag issue for debate during an extended summer session of the S.C. General Assembly.
Beyond that, we don’t know much about his thoughts on the issue …
According to our sources within the S.C. House, Lucas has been working behind the scenes in an effort to bring the flag down – acknowledging that there are many within the chamber who are opposed to doing so without some sort of concession.
Lawmakers have been debating the aftermath of last month’s horrific, racially motivated “Holy City Massacre” – the mass murder of nine black churchgoers at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston, S.C. The Mother Emanuel victims – including S.C. Senator Clementa Pinckney, the church’s pastor – were gunned down during a Bible study by Dylann Storm Roof, a 21-year-old white supremacist who used the Confederate flag as his calling card.
We’ve written extensively in the aftermath of the shooting in support of removing the flag – and doing so expeditiously. We’ve also provided some extensive historical context related to this debate (see here and here).
So far the ball is moving … with the S.C. Senate overwhelmingly voting (twice) to take the banner down “free and clear.”
His leaders don’t want that solution.
For starters, S.C. House ways and means chairman Brian White – who wields tremendous influence as the chamber’s lead budget writer – is a staunch flag supporter and one of the ten lawmakers who voted against the legislature debating its removal. Another flag supporter, S.C. Rep. Greg Delleney, chairs the influential judicial committee. Then there’s Rick Quinn, whose father Richard Quinn runs the most powerful political consulting firm in the state – an entity with extensive neo-Confederate roots.
Quinn has reportedly been playing both sides of the debate with an eye on advancing the leadership aspirations of his longtime ally S.C. Rep. Kenny Bingham – whom many view as the likely successor to Lucas.
We’re also told S.C. Rep. Gary Simrill – a majority whip on whom Lucas relies for counsel and votes – isn’t on board with simply bringing the flag down.
Lucas may be able to navigate the flag controversy to a successful resolution … but it’s going to cost him dearly among the lawmakers he relies upon to run the House.