Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake) of Apex, an attorney and Minority Leader in the North Carolina House of Representatives since 2007, is one of two leading contenders for election to Speaker of the House today in Raleigh.
The Republican House Caucus will meet at State GOP Headquarters on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh.
The Speaker has the power to appoint Committees and their Chairmen and to make appointments to state Boards and Commissions. Stam and Minority Whip Thom Tillis of Cornelius in Mecklenburg County are viewed by many observers as the leading candidates for Speaker.
Reps. Ric Killian of Mecklenburg and Mitch Gillespie of McDowell County also are running for election today.
Stam was described in an AP story on Friday as having “been the House Republicans’ chief critic of Democratic policies. He’s been praised by colleagues for restoring the Republicans’ House caucus after four years of primary battles and partisan bickering.
The 2010 General Election results produced Republican majorities in both chambers of the NC General Assembly for the first time in over 100 years. The NC Senate in 2011-12 will have 31 Republicans and 19 Democrats, which means the Republican’s Majority, will be “veto proof.” This is because the GOP members will have enough votes to override a veto by the Governor.
The NC House, which Stam hopes to lead as Speaker, will also be heavily Republican. The House has been led by Republicans in recent decades, but by much closer margins. There are 120 members of the NC House and 68 seats will be held by Republican members in the next session. Twenty new GOP members will be seated for the first time.
While there will be four candidates’ names put forward today to be the Republican nominee for Speaker, the actual election of Speaker will be by the full body in January. Since the Republicans will have the majority, the winner of today’s caucus is presumed to be the person who will preside over the House in the long session that begins January 29, 2011.
The AP is also reporting that the current Speaker of the House, Rep. Joe Hackney (D-Orange), will be nominated to serve as the Minority Leader in the next session of the NC General Assembly.
On Thursday, Senate Republicans unanimously nominated Sen. Phil Berger of Rockingham County for president pro tempore, that chamber’s most powerful position. The actual elections for House speaker and Senate president pro tem won’t happen until the session’s first day.