Four Democratic members of the West Virginia House of Delegates could be considered front runners to succeed Rick Thompson as speaker.
Thompson announced Thursday that he's stepping down next month to take a state job as secretary of Veterans Assistance.
The four are House Judiciary Committee Chairman Tim Miley from Harrison County, House Finance Committee Chairman Harry Keith White from Mingo County, House Majority Leader Brent Boggs from Braxton County and Delegate Doug Skaff from Kanawha County.
The Thompson announcement took House Democrats somewhat by surprise, and the candidates for his replacement have not yet had time to fully flush out the leadership race.
However, Miley, White and Skaff did gather in Charleston for a meeting. It's notable that Boggs was not invited.
That meeting may produce a decision among the three as to who will be the candidate for speaker, with Boggs in the race regardless of what Miley, White and Skaff decide.
With that in mind, here are four possible scenarios:
- Miley as speaker with Skaff as majority leader and White staying at Finance, with Boggs as the odd man out.
That also opens up the Judiciary Committee chairmanship, which could go to Marion County's Tim Manchin. It also likely takes Miley out of a 2014 challenge to state Sen. Sam Cann.
- Skaff as speaker, with Miley as majority leader and White at Finance.
Again, that leaves Boggs out of the top tier, but Skaff would be inclined to find a leadership spot for him, possibly as Judiciary chairman.
- White as speaker and Skaff as majority leader, with Miley staying at Judiciary.
That opens up the Senate Finance chairmanship. Under this scenario, Miley would more seriously consider running for the state Senate in 2014.
- Boggs as speaker, with perhaps Randy Swartzmiller from Hancock County as majority leader.