Dec 9, 2014 4:35 PM

Kevin Landrigan: Challenge to House Speaker's authority put off by storm


The weather delayed an "expected challenge'' to new House Speaker Shawn Jasper's authority.

Former House Speaker Bill O'Brien, who lost the speaker's race last week, had wanted House Republicans today to elect their own leader since Jasper only got the gavel with Democratic support.

O'Brien was not interested in pursuing the post even though he was the choice of House Republicans to become the speaker.

He came within four votes of grabbing the gavel on the first ballot only to lose to Jasper on the third ballot.

There are at least three prominent Republicans who have spoken with colleagues about securing this post.

They are former House Ways and Means Chairman Steve Stepanek, R-Amherst, ex-State and Federal Relations Chairman Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry, and onetime House Executive Departments and Administration Committee Chairman Carol McGuire, R-Epsom.

All three are strong O'Brien allies. Stepanek was O'Brien's financial lieutenant both during the first run for speaker in November 2010 and the attempt at redemption last week.

Jasper critics maintain they can take this step because the by-laws of the Republican State Committee require that elected officials serving on the party's executive committee must there with a majority vote of Republicans.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Jasper has already asserted his right to name a top Republican when he appointed Brookline State Representative Jack Flanagan as the House majority leader.

Jasper believes only O'Brien could lay claim to this Executive Committee position and supports a change in the by-laws so that Jasper could take it, said House Information Officer Jim Rivers.
The Republican State Committee next meets Dec. 15 and Chairman Jennifer Horn said by-law changes are a topic for discussion.

Today Jasper announced he was delaying until Thursday the announcement of who he was he's putting on his extended leadership team.

This news was to come on Wednesday but Jasper put it off for a day because he had to meet with some of his choices first and didn't want them travelling in the hazardous weather. NH1 News has learned Jasper will name some Republicans who voted for O'brien as chairs.

"I am going to pick the most qualified whether they were voting for me or not,'' Jasper said during a recent interview.


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