...To what did everyones’ wondering eyes did appear, but an empty chamber and two senators with apparently nothing to fear.
In what seemed to be the longest Democratic Party caucus yesterday, the results are still up in the air. According to this morning’s Charleston Gazette, Senator Evan Jenkins, D-Cabell, said, “This is a race to Jan. 12 - to see who can get 18 votes.”
When the Chamber doors finally opened, we learned that Kessler had the votes for needed to adopt a rule change in regards to the Senate Presidency that would then allow him to fill the position. This issue divided the Senate Democrats, and the vote ended up being 16-12 in Kessler’s favor. Kessler commented to me on Sunday he felt confident he had the votes he needed, and he was right.
Questions linger as to who will take leadership positions in the Senate if, indeed, Kessler becomes acting Senate President. Overall, my predictions are that Senator Browning, D-Wyoming, will be Senate Majority Leader, the Senate Judiciary Chairmanship, formerly held by Kessler, will go to Senator Palumbo, D-Kanawha, and the Finance Chair will most likely be Senator Prezioso, D-Marion. I’m dismissing thoughts that Senator McCabe, D-Kanawha, would become Finance Chair, because that would mean two leadership positions in the Senate would belong to senators representing the same district.
So what would happen to those currently holding leadership positions in the Senate? It’s not too hard to figure out. But that’s only if Kessler gets a majority, (meaning there are 6 Republican votes in question.) With the current 12 opposition votes facing Kessler, the addition of the 6 Republican votes would mean Kessler wouldn’t end up as acting Senate President pro tem. (Although I did hear one of the 12 switched to Kessler’s side yesterday later afternoon.)
...So January 12th we'll see what the 12 (or 11) Democrats might just dare, but we know Kessler's counting on all his votes being there.