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Vote on House speaker expected next week

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published November 9, 2012 at 9:06 a.m. Updated November 9, 2012 at 10:41 a.m.

house-members-elect-gather-to-pick-seniority-during-a-meeting-friday

House members-elect gather to pick seniority during a meeting Friday.

— The speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives says he expects to call a meeting next Thursday for another election for his successor in the role.

Speaker-designate Rep. Darrin Williams, a Little Rock Democrat, was elected earlier this year, but Republicans want to elect one of their own after gaining an apparent 51-seat majority in Tuesday's elections.

Republican Rep. Bruce Westerman of Hot Springs said Friday that his party is collecting at least 50 signatures on a petition to present to current speaker Rep. Robert Moore that would start the process. After receiving the petition, Moore is tasked with setting an organizational meeting for the sole purpose of electing a new speaker.

Moore, D-Arkansas City, said he expects to receive the petition Friday and then set the meeting for Thursday. Doing so then will provide time for one outstanding issue that could affect the vote: A recount is under way in District 52. Democrat L.J. Bryant of Grubbs trailed Republican John Hutchison of Harrisburg after the original count, but if the numbers change, the Republicans could lose their 51-seat majority.

"That's a big question out there that has to be resolved," Moore said, noting the recount should be done by Thursday. "Both sides want to do it expeditiously."

As it stands now, there are 51 Republicans, 48 Democrats and one Green party representative in the body.

Republican Rep. Terry Rice of Waldron is expected to run for speaker. Westerman said he didn't know of any others who would vie for the post.

Moore and Westerman spoke to reporters after the House met Friday to draw seniority for incoming members and select seats. Members then broke into caucuses to determine committee assignments.

Incoming Green Party Rep. Fred Smith of Crawfordsville automatically received the top seniority of the incoming legislators because he is a former member of the House.

The rest of the incoming members drew numbers to randomly determine their seniority.

Republican Douglas House of North Little Rock, elected in District 40, drew the lowest number, making him the most senior of the incoming members behind Smith.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

Comments on: Vote on House speaker expected next week

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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 total comments

rocky9999 says... November 9, 2012 at 12:04 p.m.

It is a SAD SAD DAY for Arkansas, i am just glad they can not vote for war

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rainbowharold55 says... November 9, 2012 at 12:44 p.m.

God help us.

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lazybar says... November 9, 2012 at 1:03 p.m.

if you really want god to help us.........pray for a massive lighting storm to hit the golf course next time king putt takes a vacation.

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PatWaverly says... November 9, 2012 at 1:21 p.m.

I hear you Rainbow and Rock. Arkansas has been atop of every known national measure for excellence under the Democrats over the last 130 years and these poor ignorant people want to make a change. They just don't know what's good for them do they?

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NoCrossNoCrown says... November 10, 2012 at 9:25 p.m.

I pray they do not try all the radical stuff that their counterparts in other states have tried to force upon the people in those states. Can we expect them to attack workers and women's health issues?? Will they creat more tax breaks for wealthy Arkansans? Will fee's rise so that they can claim that they did not raise taxes? Will they bend over and allow the outside donors companies to pollute our air and water for profit and at our peril.?? Time can only tell us if our state government was successfully purchased on Nov. 6, 2012......

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NoUserName says... November 10, 2012 at 9:49 p.m.

You know, the city/county where I grew up and lived until moving here was under Democrat control for, oh, I dunno, 30+ years or so. Maybe more. Within the last 4-5 years, the FBI had to come in and clean house. Somewhere on the order of 100+ democrats were either found guilty or plead guilty and are serving jail time for public corruption, including two judges at last count. R's may suck. But lets not pretend that D's are all that, either.

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