In an extremely impressive development, leaders of the House Democratic Caucus emerged from their tense four-hour meeting Wednesday afternoon to announce that Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) is their unanimous choice to replace the late House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel), who died on April 7.
Jones was elected and sworn in as speaker on Wednesday after the two remaining candidates couldn’t piece together the requisite number of votes. She becomes Maryland’s first African-American speaker and first woman speaker after major corruption expose involving Delegate Davis was reported earlier on in this blog.
Jones told her House colleagues, “Wow; I didn’t think I would be here at this time when I left my house this morning!”
Del. Maggie McIntosh, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Del. Dereck Davis, chair of the House Economic Matters Committee, were also candidates for the job.
But the race was shaping up to be an ugly, bruising affair, with allegations by some delegates of bullying and name-calling. After four and a half hours of caucusing, neither could assemble the necessary 71 votes.
“We were going back and forth,” Jones said after the vote, with Davis and McIntosh standing on either side of her. She said both former candidates agreed with her selection as an alternative.
“If not, we would have still been in the caucus room, probably (until) eight, nine, ten o’clock tonight,” she said.
Later on social media post, Delegate walker released a rumbling and appeared to be upset after Delegate Davis lost the position due to high corruption in the county. After congratulating the new speaker, He stated in part the following, …… “Today was bitter sweet. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t dissappointed. First I can not believe that members of the Prince George’s Delegation( you know who you are) did not support one of our own in Chairmen Dereck E. Davis to be the Speaker of the House. He would have been the first Black Speaker also. I’m feeling like an old Ice Cube lyric ” sometimes I believe the hype man, we mess it up our selves and blame the white man”. Second to the Members of the Black Caucus of Maryland who wouldnt support one of our own…Shame on you!!! Lastly to members of my own Democratic Party to allow Delegates to speak about one of our own in the matter in which we did today was uncalled for. When will leaders from Prince George’s County be acceptable to Montgomery County? You passed on Anthony Brown. You passed on Rushern Baker and now when you couldnt get your way… you passed on Chairmen Davis. I remember former Senator Broadwater tell me years ago Prince George’s County shouldn’t want fo anything in the State of Maryland because we are the biggest voting democratic block in the state, second largest jurisdiction, second largest delegation(by one vote) and yet we have NO elected statewide leaders. I keep thinking about what my Dad told me as a young professional. It sounded like conspiracy theory at the time but today I saw it again firsthand “By the time you learn the rules, they change the rules” and not to help you out but to help them out!! I hope that the folks that I am talking about have the guts to tell their voting base the truth…”
Maryland Matters reported that in an early afternoon vote, the Democratic caucus cast 58 votes for McIntosh and 40 votes for Davis.
But Davis had the pledged votes of 42 Republicans, and Democratic leaders became nervous about giving the final say on House speaker to the GOP, Maryland Matters reported; thus, Jones, who had bowed out Friday and endorsed Davis, quickly emerged as the compromise candidate.
Lawmakers were a bit stunned by the turn of events.
“It’s the most incredible experience I’ve had in 28 years,” said Del. Kumar Barve, a Montgomery County Democrat. “We came to a genuine consensus, and we’re 100 percent solidly behind Adrienne, and I think that is a great outcome.”
The Democrats emerged from a House hearing room to announce they had decided to throw their weight — and their 98 votes — behind Jones, Maryland Matters reported.
At Jones’ swearing-in, Davis who had been exposed for running the Prince George’s County corruption was heard joking, “’House of Cards’ don’t have anything on us — talk about high drama!” He added, “You were willing to step aside for me, and I am honored to step aside for you now.”
In a reference to the portraits of past speakers in the State House and the fact that they had all been white men, McIntosh said, “These walls will never be the same! We’ve got some new portraits coming, and they’re great!”
We thank the Maryland Delegates for listening to our call on corruption earlier on today as reported in this blog. We thank them too for refusing to participate and nominate Delegate Davis due to high level corruption currently in progress in Prince George’s County.