By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – Billy McCoy said he expects to make an announcement in three to four weeks on whether he will seek a ninth term in the state House and third term as speaker.
McCoy, a Democrat from Rienzi, has yet to qualify for re-election, but stressed he had plenty of time to meet the June 1 qualifying deadline.
“I have been concerned with passing a budget, redistricting and other issues and have not given it much thought,” the 68-year-old said Friday. “There is plenty of time for speaker politics in the coming months.”
In December, before the 2011 session started, McCoy said he was going to postpone making a decision until the session had ended.
He said the Legislature had difficult issues to deal with in an election year, particularly the budget and redistricting, and he wanted to try to prevent a pending race for speaker from influencing the outcome.
But he probably was only partially successful. There has been rampant speculation about whether McCoy would run again.
And the Legislature was unable to agree on a redistricting plan primarily because both Republicans and Democrats were jockeying to pass a plan that would help them elect the next speaker.
The session ended April 7 without leaders passing a legislative redistricting plan. The issue is pending in federal court.
McCoy won his first term as speaker in 2004 without a dissenting vote. But in 2008, he won 63-61 after a bruising contest against Jeff Smith, D-Columbus, who had the support of all of the chamber’s Republicans.
There are currently 53 Republicans in the 122-member chamber.