Representative Wayne Scott, who not long ago resigned as leader of the Oregon House Republicans, was a very strong personality, and his personality had a definite effect on the chamber as a whole. His replacement announced (as expected) this last week, Representative Bruce Hanna of Roseburg, will doubtless have a significant effect too, but it may be a little different.
(We know of the change in leadership, by the way, from a press release; the House Republican web site still lists Scott as leader.)
There will likely be a change in tone simply from the change in circumstance. Most of Scott’s time in leadership was spent in the majority, running the House, and in the last session, in the minority, he was only barely in the minority, by a single vote. Hanna, entering the leadership now, will be minority leader from the first, and in a shrinking minority: Seven Republican House members either are on their way out or will be at the end of this term, increasing the odds that Democrats will add to their numbers. (Although: If Republicans do manage to gain even one seat, rather than hold even or lose, Hanna could become speaker.)
There is a little more besides that. Scott has been in the House since 2002, and Hanna since 2004 – a term and a half. Scott has been a relatively autocratic leader; Hanna may be less so, maybe less confrontational. That doesn’t mean ineffectual. The Eugene Register Guard reports that “His first act as caucus leader was the creation of a new Republicans-only committee of veteran House members to develop strategy and policy for the special session planned in February. He named Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, to chair the House Republican Policy Committee. Hanna said returning the Republicans to majority status was a top priority.”
Sounds like the laying of groundwork for long-term strategy, which might be a wise thing. The 2008 elections are not shaping up as favorable for the House Republicans, but the longer term is a blank slate yet to be filled.Share on Facebook