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GOP legislators take wait & see stance on speaker

Raleigh |

Bonner Stiller says, no matter what, he’s voting for the Republican.

Carolyn Justice doesn’t know yet. And Danny McComas figures no Democrat would need his vote anyway.

All three Republican members of the state House from the Wilmington area said they’d heard the talk about some of the unsuccessful candidates for the Democratic nomination for speaker of the House potentially courting Republican votes.

On Wednesday, Democrats nominated Rep. Joe Hackney, D-Orange, to be the first new speaker since 1999. That makes him the front-runner, but it’s the winner of the vote on Jan. 24 that will become leader of the 120-member House and one of the three most powerful people in state government.

There’s precedent for mischief. In 1989, Republicans joined a dissident faction of Democrats and ousted long-serving Democratic speaker Liston Ramsey. A decade later, Rep. Dan Blue, a Democrat from Raleigh, nearly won the job by working with a Republican faction.

All three of the Wilmington-area Republicans supported the novel Democratic-Republican co-speakership in 2003.

Stiller, a Republican from Oak Island, said he won’t be persuaded to peel off from the GOP.

"I think the Republican sentiment is that Democrats have voted on their candidate and the Republicans will have our particular candidate," Stiller said. "Obviously we don’t have the votes, the Democrats will end up with leadership that they have chosen, and we’ll go from there." (more…)