You can bet the lobbyists worked out the little calculus that follow about three seconds after Representative Dolores Crow said today she will end her 22 years in the Idaho House, and not seek re-election this year.
Crow has been the controversial chair of House Revenue and Taxation for some years - the one-person roadblock to a large pile of tax legislation, and a bulwark of her version of conservative tax policy. As such, she's been a major player in Idaho government for most of a decade now. So: Who will replace her?
There's no definitive answer, but some facts are relevant. One is that there will be a new speaker, and no one now knows who that will will be. But as the cheif voice in assigning chairs, that will be an important factor.
The vice-chair on Rev-Tax is Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, an agribusiness guy who has impressed many in the House (and beyond) with his fluency with numbers and finance policy, notably in arcane areas that tend to boggle other minds. He has been a leader on the property tax interim committee. Very conservative, but grounded in a professional world view; one imagines him not as as a pushover but possibly as a listener and a compromiser (in the good sense).
He is one possibility for chair, but not the only one, because after this session he will not be the senior member on Rev-Tax. That will be Lenore Hardy Barrett, R-Challis, one of the most edgy and fierce conservatives in the House, who might make Wood look like an indecisive waffler. Her appointment would mean a tax committee in the House somewhat like the last few years, only more so.
The stakes rise.