RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Top Republican leaders in the North Carolina House have consolidated their support behind third-term Rep. Destin Hall to become speaker once Tim Moore’s time at the post is complete.
There’s been a shadow campaign this year within the House Republican Caucus to build support to become the next speaker, as Moore has said his record fifth two-year term leading the chamber would be his last. The next scheduled election for speaker is January 2025.
Hall, the current House Rules Committee chair from Caldwell County, and Majority Leader John Bell, of Wayne County, have been the leading candidates.
On Wednesday, the two men along with two other key House GOP leaders told a caucus meeting that they backed a plan whereby Hall would become the caucus nominee to be the next speaker. If ultimately backed by the caucus and elected by a majority in the 120-seat chamber, Hall also said he would select Bell as the next rules chair.
Hall said Thursday that he and Bell — friends who sit next to each other on the House floor — talked in the last few weeks “about what makes sense for us and for our caucus as a whole.”
Hall and Bell said in separate interviews that contrasting work and family obligations contributed to the proposed power arrangement. Being speaker requires a lot of time in Raleigh for administrative duties and travel elsewhere to raise campaign funds.
The Republican infighting on Capitol Hill this month over the choice of a new U.S. House speaker also served as an impetus to avoid hostilities that could split the caucus, Hall said.
“We were confident that we could avoid the kind of problems that they’ve had in D.C.,” Hall said about the arrangement, which was first reported by Axios.
Hall, Bell and Rep. Jason Saine, of Lincoln County, the senior chair of the House Appropriations Committee, all said they believe Hall had the support of a strong majority of House Republicans to become speaker.
The plan “was very well received by the caucus,” Bell said.
Rep. Keith Kidwell, of Beaufort County, also announced this summer he would run for speaker. Kidwell, the leader of the House Freedom Caucus, was absent this week in Raleigh as lawmakers wrapped up this year’s work session. He didn’t immediately respond Thursday to questions sent to his office asking about his candidacy.
Moore has said he expected to serve out the remainder of his House term through 2024 and would be speaker during the budget-adjusting work session that begins in April. He said this week he was considering a run for a U.S. House seat next year.
The legislature, which has been controlled by Republicans since 2011, approved a new set of General Assembly districts for use starting in 2024 that appear to put GOP lawmakers in good shape to retain their House and Senate majorities.
Should Moore continue as speaker through the end of next year, a House Republican Caucus composed of people who were elected in November 2024 — not the current grouping of legislators — would decide on a speaker nominee for a January 2025 chamber election.
Hall, 36, is a Granite Falls lawyer first elected to the House in 2016. By 2020, he was the rules committee’s co-chair, and a few months later he was the sole chair, managing the flow of legislation in the chamber.
As a leader of the House Redistricting Committee, Hall has helped shepherd electoral district maps through his chamber since 2019, bringing him attention as a witness in redistricting litigation.
Saine said Hall has a sharp legal mind and is also considered quite measured and calm: “He’s seen as fair, and I think that helps us moving forward as well.”