Four Democratic members of the West Virginia House of Delegates could be considered front runners to succeed Rick Thompson as Speaker.   Thompson announced Thursday that he’s stepping down next month to take a state job as Secretary of Veterans Assistance.

The four are House Judiciary Committee Chairman Tim Miley from Harrison County, House Finance Committee Chairman Harry Keith White from Mingo County, House Majority Leader Brent Boggs from Braxton County and Delegate Doug Skaff from Kanawha County.

The Thompson announcement took House Democrats somewhat by surprise and the candidates for his replacement have not yet had time to fully flush out the leadership race.  However, Miley, White and Skaff did gather last night in Charleston for a meeting.  It’s notable that Boggs was not invited.

That meeting may produce a decision among the three as to which will be the candidate for Speaker, with Boggs in the race regardless of what Miley, White and Skaff decide.  With that in mind, here are four possible scenarios:

–Miley as the Speaker with Skaff  as Majority Leader and White staying at Finance and Boggs as the odd man out.  That also opens up the Judiciary Committee Chairmanship, which could go to Marion County’s Tim Manchin.  It also likely takes Miley out of a 2014 challenge to state Senator Sam Cann.

–Skaff as Speaker with Miley as Majority Leader and White at Finance.  Again, that leaves Boggs out of the top tier, but Skaff would be inclined to find a leadership spot for him, possibly as Judiciary Chairman.

–White as Speaker and Skaff as Majority Leader with Miley staying at Judiciary.  That opens up the Senate Finance Chairmanship.  Under this scenario, Miley would more seriously consider running for the state Senate in 2014.

–Boggs as Speaker with perhaps Randy Swartzmiller from Hancock County as Majority Leader.  Since it appears to be Boggs vs. Miley/Skaff/White, this scenario leaves Boggs in a position to build support by promising the chairmanships of the powerful Finance and Judiciary Committees.

This will play out over the next several weeks.  Thompson will resign June 15th, and the House must be called into session within ten days to choose a new Speaker. No doubt allegiances will shift many times between now and the end of the June.

It’s also possible that if a majority of the four cannot come to some agreement and hard feelings develop that they’ll have to go to another House Democrat as a compromise candidate that everyone can agree upon.

Meanwhile, the Republicans will watch with interest, hoping the selection devolves into a battle that splits the majority party.  That could make it harder for the Democrats to maintain their 54-46 advantage in the 2014 election.

A Republican surge in the next election means all the maneuvering currently underway by Democrats will be moot, since it will be the GOP that will have to make key leadership decisions.

But for now, all the drama is with the House Democrats.

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  • Shadow

    Hoppy, does anyone know where each individual would lead WV or is it just, business as usual? That is the article that I would like to read. If there is no difference, what does whose name appears on the letterhead.

  • Medman

    I received an e-mail already from Brent Boggs soliciting my support for him getting House Chair. And, I don't even know him. But, his promptness and use of the Internet system are impressive.

  • FungoJoe

    Obama and his administration are showing everyone in America that the liberal progressive wing of the democratic party are nothing more than a criminal enterprise. Organized crime at its best. Better than the Mob. The Mob doesn't have their right hand man as the US Attorney General.

    • TD

      and he's never going to give up power!!!!! we're stuck with this man for the rest of our lives!!!

    • Wowbagger

      Or drones for the hit men!

  • mntnman

    I wonder at times if people in political office ever think of the citizens first in what they do. To often it seems they spend much time working on their political futures. And we wonder why things are a mess.

    • GregG

      Hell no they don't ever think of the citizens first. Their one and only goal is to position themselves where the most $$ will end up in their pockets. I call it Political Posturing for Profit. The best that the voter can even hope for is to elect someone that will atleast let the middle class have a crumb or two that falls from the Royal table.

  • Wirerowe

    Captain told me they thought it was going to happen . But I am with you I will believe it when I see it.

  • CaptainQ

    Hoppy, although I do admire your boundless enthusiam for the WV GOP, I wouldn't count on a Republican takeover of the House just yet. First of all, in 2014, Obama will NOT be headlining the ballots, so that is to the STATE Democrats advantage. Second, never underestimate the power of both incumbancy and the Democratic Party in WV in general. Entire generations of voters have consistantly cast their ballots for the Democrats, and once the 'Obama factor' wears off, more will likely do so again.

    Hoppy, I will BELIEVE a GOP takeover of the WV House when I SEE it, period! Counting one's chickens before they hatch can leave one with egg on their face.

    • mntnman

      You are so right on the Obama factor. He is the current brag on WV dems and once he goes, that drag goes. If its Hillary Clinton, she may help the state dems quite a bit. Of course, who knows the futures.

  • DWM

    About as riveting as picking out your day's wardrobe when all you have in your closet are gray slacks and gray shirts, gray ties, and gray suits.

    • C.Hoffman

      Great analogy DWM. Unfortunately the pols are destroying our state and it's people and that should be on everyone's agenda.

  • wirerowe

    When it all shakes out .It will be interesting to see where Mike Caputo lands.

  • thornton

    Miley would obviously sell the most used cars....I expect that may translate to Speaker.
    But, each would knock over the other as any prospective customer breached the showroom door.
    A lesson there.
    However, color me more interested in that fog.

  • Tag

    Hoppy, just assure me that none of the four were ever a community organizer or a personal injury lawyer.

    • Hop'sHip

      or have an MBA

      • Wowbagger

        You don't mean and Executive MBA with a few courses missing do you?

        • Hop'sHip

          I was thinking along the lines of Harvard Business School, where they apparently INCLUDE a course in Voodoo economics.

          • Shadow

            I thought you were a proponent of Voodoo economics, ie, dig the hole deeper. Have I misunderstood you or have you changed your concept of economics?

          • Hop'sHip

            Bagger, I suspect that your definition of "intelligent, well educated people" are people who think like you. No offense, but I could understand why someone would prefer a diverse crowd to a world of "baggers".

          • Wowbagger

            You know, I've known a lot of well educated, intelligent people who came from the Ivy League and some flakes who looked good on paper, but the voodoo really started about twenty years ago. It has always helped if your daddy or uncle is a big contributor especially if you are not too bright or are about to be kicked out. It also appears that recently they favor affirmitive action. I think they call it "diversity" and participate because it makes the rich kids feel good to have various minority and foreign students around. They do this with faculty too, Henry Louis Gates and Elizabeth Warren that noteworthy native American who recently left for the U.S. House of Lords er Senate, for example. My personal opinion is the Ivy League isn't worth the price these days.

            The best bang for your buck is the practical engineering programs at North Dakota School of Mines, where graduates who pay really low tuition, fees, and housing get multiple offers for over $100k per year and can start work the Monday after graduation.

          • FungoJoe

            Anything Voodoo that came out of Harvard came from the Harvard Law School faculty.

  • GregG

    Sure is foggy this morning.

    • CaptainQ

      Great way of summarizing the situation, GregG! Once the initial shock of Thompson's departure sets in, then the REAL jockeying for position will begin.