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Caucus chairman discusses leadership election process

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – With the start of the next legislative session just months away, the questions concerning the House leadership races continue swirling throughout the Capitol.

New leadership is scheduled to take over the House in 2018, with a new Speaker to be decided, as well as the other top positions in the majority caucus.

Reps. Robert Cornejo, Elijah Haahr, and Holly Rehder are all seeking the Speaker’s seat for 2018 when Speaker Todd Richardson terms out. Reps. Kirk Mathews, Rocky Miller, and Rob Vescovo all seek the chair as the next Majority Floor Leader, while the race to become the next Speaker Pro Tem in the Missouri House of Representatives features three strong contenders in Reps. Jason Chipman, Glen Kolkmeyer, and John Wiemann.

The questions at this time, however, is just when the votes for these races will take place.

Rep. Kolkmeyer is the caucus chair and says that in the case of the Majority Floor Leader, it all seems to depend on the decisions of current Majority Floor Leader Mike Cierpiot, who is currently seeking a bid for a state senate. If he wins that race, he would have to step down to take the seat.

“The vote won’t take place until Cierpiot would resign from his position as majority floor leader,” Kolkmeyer said. “If not, all of those leadership positions, except the speaker, would take place the day after the General Election of 2018.

“Obviously, if there were a vacancy, if Cierpiot were to resign that leadership seat, then we would have a special election of the caucus a month or so after that as long as we’re up and running come the beginning of session.”

The caucus will meet once during the summer, and again during veto session, and finally for a winter caucus, which several sources say is most likely when a vote would take place if Cierpiot were to be elected to the state senate.

The vote for the Speaker designee is a different matter, however, as the rules of the vote must be decided upon. Those rules involved the question of who can vote, whether it be the majority of the caucus or the majority of those present or whether senior representatives can vote for the new designee.

That vote is scheduled to take place during the veto session. As for everything else, Kolkmeyer says, nothing is actually scheduled just yet.