JEFFERSON CITY, Mo, — In the shadow of a veto session bound to head into the wee hours of the morning, the Republican majority caucus selected House Majority Leader John Diehl as the next Speaker of the House for the 98th General Assembly. Diehl, R-Town & Country, will replace current Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, when Jones is termed out after the 2014 session.
Diehl was pitted against Caleb Jones, R-California, who ran as an “outsider” candidate and wrote a letter of promises to Republican members last week outlining what he would do as Speaker.
“Caleb is a friend and a talented member of our caucus,” Rep. Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield said. “He has a bright future in our state. I am proud to stand with John Diehl as he leads our united caucus forward.”
Diehl was successful after a lengthy caucus vote.
Assistant Majority Floor Leader Mike Cierpiot, R-Blue Springs, supported Diehl’s candidacy but said it was not a personal decision.
“Caleb is a good man and a friend,” Cierpiot said. “I don’t have any problems with Caleb, but I think John is uniquely qualified to lead our caucus into the future.”
Jones told The Missouri Times he would hold no grudges against those members that did not support him and said he had not yet decided whether he would once again run for Speaker in two years.
“Anytime our caucus can make a choice about the direction we take and the leadership we want, it’s a good thing,” Jones said. “I’ll support anyone, anyone at all, who is working to make the state and our caucus better.”
Diehl was unavailable for comment as the House returned to session. The story will be updated as a comment is received.
Editor’s note: No, the veto session didn’t go until the wee hours of the night. They were finished by midnight.