Winners and Losers from the House Speaker Election
The election of Adrienne Jones as Speaker of the House on Wednesday was the crescendo to an unbelievable few weeks of cutthroat politics, backbiting, and internal fissures in the Maryland Democratic Party.
So who wins and who loses from the Jones election? Let’s take a look.
- House Speaker Adrienne Jones: Obviously any time a new Speaker emerges from this process by being elected unanimously as Speaker, they win. The Jones withdrawal last week sent the race into hyperdrive and ultimately by staying above the fray, she prevailed. Was it a Machiavellian stroke of genius or just sheer luck of events outside of her control? It doesn’t really matter, because she wound up where she wanted to be.
- House Minority Leader Nic Kipke: House Republicans played the Democrats like a fiddle throughout this entire process. Kipke and his unified House caucus showed that you don’t have to be the majority party, or even be within shouting distance, to have a positive impact on the process. While Jones was not the first choice for the House Caucus, she was certainly a better choice than the looming specter of Maggie McIntosh.
- Legislative Black Caucus: For decades, Maryland Democrats have taken African-Americans, including those in the General Assembly, for granted. Establishment Republicans and party leaders just assumed that the Legislative Black Caucus would get in line behind the decisions of party leaders. It was obvious from the 58-40 vote in the Democratic Caucus and the four hours of negotiations that led to a compromise choice that the Caucus asserted its independence in ways that it often has not. That will be an interesting storyline going forward.
- Local Media: Local media did a really good job of covering this story. From legacy media to new media there was a *ton* of news about this Speaker’s race. And the good, the bad, and the ugly were all covered. If only this much attention could be given to all the important stories coming out of Annapolis.
- Delegate Dereck Davis: He wasn’t elected Speaker. But he also prevented his rival from being elected by staying in the race, trying to work with Republicans, and staying his ground.
- State Senators: They came to Annapolis with nothing to do. Nobody got into trouble.
- Taxpayers: Speaker Jones is more along the lines of an institutionalist like Speaker Busch was. While that wasn’t great for taxpayers, it again beats one particular alternative.
- Delegate Maggie McIntosh: If you asked people for years who the next Speaker would be, everybody would have told you it was likely to be Maggie McIntosh; I told a lot of people over the years that I expected her to be the replacement. This was her dream job. This was her destiny. This was her birthright. And she let it slip right through her hands. Remember: McIntosh was planning to run Statewide in 2018 and then pulled out to stay in the General Assembly presumably because she knew that Speaker Busch’s health was in question. A lot of the reason she lost was her radical left-wing nature and her arrogance, but there were other external factors as well. And don’t forget: she flat out lied to everybody just yesterday when McIntosh told reporters “I’ve Got It.” How can anybody trust her to be honest after that? For McIntosh this was it; she has reached the pinnacle of her career. There’s nowhere to go for her from here.
- Democratic Party Chairman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings: The feckless Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party cost McIntosh the speakership. She tried to put her thumb on the scale and mocked the idea of bipartisanship in the selection of a Speaker. She tried to intimidate Davis supporters into supporting the establishment McIntosh when everybody knew that she was bluffing. Davis and the Legislative Black Caucus called her bluff and forced the compromise that led to McIntosh being sidestepped. Why would anybody take this Chairman seriously anymore? Her failed threat showed that Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is basically a non-entity among the power players in the Maryland Democratic Party; she is, at best, a spectator while the adults try to corral the party.
- Left-Wing Activists: Unions and Progressive Groups were having meltdowns all over the internet this weekend. They were making threats, they were making phone calls, they were publishing incomprehensible and ill-informed manifestos. And for what? So they can be exposed as toothless. These left-wing groups were making the same type of nonsense threats against Democrats and against supporters of Dereck Davis that Cummings was making, just with a lot more bombast. They, too, were incapable of dragging McIntosh across the finish line or of knocking Davis out of the race until the compromise was made. And remember that the compromise was made without the input of these left-wing radicals. These left-wing activists might be able to get radical left-wing Democrats elected in a gerrymandered legislative district, or through a multi-candidate statewide primary, but they are incapable of working with the members of their own party to do the business of governing. It just goes to show that when it comes to unions and it comes to groups like Progressive Maryland or Maryland Working Families they don’t have the stroke or the influence they think they do.