Cornejo preludes announcement for possible speaker run


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A new contender will likely enter the race to become the next House Speaker sometime this week.

Rep. Robert Cornejo told The Missouri Times publisher Scott Faughn on Sunday’s episode of This Week in Missouri Politics that “there will probably be an announcement in the next few days” that he will look for the top spot in the Missouri House.

“I’ve been having some talks with some of my House colleagues from Springfield to St. Joseph, Bowling Green down to the Bootheel,” Cornejo said. “I’ve got support that’s not happy with the current options that are available running for speaker.”

Cornejo chairs the House General Laws Committee and made an attempt in 2015 to run for Majority Floor Leader against Rep. Mike Cierpiot, narrowly losing. This year, he has sat on the Special Committee on Litigation Reform, and has been a prime advocate for tort reform measures in the House.

The representative says he has focused on attempting to pass substantial legislation through the House, especially bills that reduce regulations, like his alcohol advertising bill going through session this year.

“Five months out of the year, I go down to Jefferson City and I leave behind my wife, my three children, my businesses that I run,” Cornejo said. “So when I go down to Jefferson City, I try to be as impactful as possible.”

For now, those “other options” include current Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr and Rep. Holly Rehder, both of whom have also become major players in the lower chamber in recent years. Haahr currently serves in leadership, and before that, chaired the House Emerging Issues Committee. Rehder has served as the chair of the House Economic Development Committee and overseen the passage of several big name bills, like right-to-work and her prescription drug monitoring plan (PDMP).