Jody Richards to challenge Larry Clark for leadership?

06/01/2010 09:43 AM

Rep. Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green

Several House Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Larry Clark of Louisville, said last week that former House Speaker Jody Richards of Bowling Green could be mounting a challenge to Clark for the speaker pro tem position.

Richards, who was the House’s longest-serving speaker (1995-2009), wouldn’t confirm or deny the rumblings.

“We’ll see,” was all he told cn|2 Politics last week.

But Clark said he had been made aware that Richards has been soliciting support for the leadership position, which will be decided by in January as part of each party’s internal leadership elections.

“Yes, Speaker Richards has been asking members to vote for him against me as speaker pro tem,” Clark said. “That’s an issue we’ll address in January.”

Rep. Larry Clark, D-Louisville

Other lawmakers, including Democratic Reps. Brent Yonts of Greenville and Carl Rollins of Midway, said they, too, have heard of Richards’ interest. But they said it’s too early for most lawmakers to begin thinking about leadership elections.

Clark has served in the House since 1984 and for the last 17 years as speaker pro tem, a position mainly responsible for taking over running the chamber when the House speaker is away from the podium. He has developed a reputation as tough, sometimes harsh, negotiator and as someone who has a long memory for those who cross him.

Richards and Clark were on the same House Democratic leadership team for more than 15 years before Richards lost the speaker’s chair in a close race to Greg Stumbo in January 2009.

- Ryan Alessi

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