House leadership races heating up

Ryan Alessi with the Herald-Leader has the story of a possible run for Speaker of the House by Rep. Greg Stumbo, the former attorney general and House majority floor leader who rejoined the legislature this year.

Alessi’s story comes following comments by Stumbo, a Prestonsburg Democrat, to the Courier-Journal that he might be looking at the House’s top leadership post which has been held by Rep. Jody Richards of Bowling Green since 1995.

This possible addition to the House Democratic leadership races when the General Assembly reconvenes in January has been talked about since Stumbo’s first day back on the House floor this year and makes what was already going to be an interesting start to next year’s session even more so.

The departure of Rep. Rob Wilkey of Scottsville from the legislature and his spot as House majority whip has prompted a number of legislators to toss their hats into the ring, including Rep. Tommy Thompson of Philpot. The spot of speaker pro tempore has two Louisville-area legislators – current post-holder Rep. Larry Clark and challenger Rep. Joni Jenkins – in the running.

It will be interesting to see how western Kentucky fares once the final votes are tallied among House Democrats next year. With Richards and Wilkey, two of the five members of House Democratic leadership were from western Kentucky.

When the smoke clears, this area of the state could lose any direct voice when it comes to guiding Democrats in the House. Geography will be only one of many things I’m sure will factor into who House Democrats choose in January, but one I’m sure will be in the minds of many lawmakers from west of Interstate 65.

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