Louisiana House speaker's race becomes two-man competition
BATON ROUGE - The race to be Louisiana's next House speaker is becoming a bit of a brawl.
Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards is backing a Democrat in the majority Republican chamber, and GOP members are split on whether they should vote as a bloc.
The divide is raising questions about whether the leadership haggling might make it more difficult for lawmakers to work together in a February special session to fix the state's deep budget problems.
Senators seem to have coalesced around the re-election of Republican John Alario as Senate president. But the House speaker's job is a competition between two men: Democrat Walt Leger and Republican Cameron Henry.
Edwards is backing Leger.
The House speaker chooses the chairmen and committee assignments and makes decisions that can determine whether bills pass or fail.