The top lawyer to the speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives is leaving his post to join a prominent lobbying firm in the state capital, sources familiar with the situation tell this news outlet.
Michael Anzelmo, chief counsel to House speaker Jay Lucas, is accepting a position with the Palmetto State office of McGuire Woods Consulting.
“His leaving is a loss,” one House leader told us, referring to Anzelmo. “Smart, trusted, well-liked. He will do well in the lobby.”
Anzelmo’s move will be effective at the beginning of October, we are told, and is expected to help fill the gaping void at the firm that was left by the death of lobbyist Robert Adams in January.
Anzelmo’s departure from Lucas’ office is likely to prompt multiple staffing moves with the GOP-controlled chamber.
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According to our sources, the top candidate to fill Anzelmo’s post in the speaker’s office is House clerk Patrick Dennis (above), who assumed his current role just four-and-a-half months ago following resignation of longtime clerk Charles Reid.
Dennis previously worked in the speaker’s office prior to taking a position with the S.C. Medical Association (SCMA) in December of 2017.
“(The speaker) is comfortable with Patrick,” one House source told us. “He already has the institutional knowledge downloaded.”
Should Dennis get the job, the House would have to hire a new clerk – and while we have heard several rumors as to who might be in line for this position, it is too early at this point to say if there is a definitive favorite.
One name that has been floated? Emma Thomas Dean, the chief of staff to the S.C. House judiciary committee.
Lucas would obviously have a major say in that process, although as we have pointed out in previous coverage that decision is ultimately made by a vote of all 124 members of the chamber.
UPDATE: New boss? Same as the old boss? Hmmm …
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