A Broward Democratic House member is challenging the appointment of State Rep. Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, as the new House Speaker.
State Rep. Jim Waldman of Coconut Creek, who monitors the House rules for House Democrats, said Friday that Cretul must be elected, not appointed.
“Any permanent successor must be elected, said Waldman, the Democrat’s Rules Liaison. “Those are the rules.
Waldman will bring his views to a meeting of the Democratic House caucus next week.
If the 44 House Democrats agree with Waldman, they would formally call for an election.
Whatever the Democrats do, they won’t elect one of their own as speaker. There are approximately two Republicans for every Democrat in the House.
So all the Democrats can really do is make noise and bad publicity for the GOP.
Speakers are normally elected by the 120 House members, and Cretul’s automatic elevation to the post is highly unusual.
It was triggererd by House Speaker Ray Sansom, who stepped down Friday amid a growing scandal. Sansom said in a statement that Cretul, who is the Speaker Pro Tem, would replace him.
Cretul was expected to fill the remainder of Sansom’s term.
Waldman said that unless Cretul serves only temporarily, the House rules mandate a new election. He believes that Cretul’s job is not temporary if he intends to serve through the whole session.
“The question is whether we will recognize Cretul as the speaker without an election, Waldman said.
If the Republicans call an election for speaker, it could trigger a free-for-all for leadership of the House just weeks before the 2009 March-April session is set to open.
There is no guarantee that Republican House members would elect Cretul speaker. State political blogs say other Republicans have already begun quietly jockeying for the powerful job.