Oct 25, 2023 - News

Scoop: Top NC Republicans will support Rep. Destin Hall to replace Tim Moore

Illustration of the North Carolina Legislative Building with lines radiating from it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Two top contenders vying to replace North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore when he leaves the legislature next year have agreed to drop out of the race and endorse Republican House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. Destin Hall as Moore's replacement, House leaders tell Axios.

Why it matters: The move almost certainly guarantees that Hall will be North Carolina's next House Speaker, more than a year before a vote is even set to take place.

  • Hall plans to appoint Republican Rep. John Bell, the longest serving House Majority Leader in state history, to replace him as Rules chairman.

The intrigue: Hall and the two other contenders for House Speaker — Bell and House budget committee chairman Rep. Jason Saine — have been discussing the matter for weeks, they said.

  • Republican Rep. Brenden Jones, another leader in the House Republican caucus, has also been part of the discussions.
  • The four leaders believe that the plan to unite behind Hall is the best way to move forward and keep the caucus united, rather than continue on with a campaign that was sure to divide it.

What they're saying: "We're friends here and there's no point in continuing on a battle like that," Hall told Axios Wednesday night. "It makes for a stronger, united caucus down the road if you're on the same page."

  • The group announced the plan to back Hall to the caucus Wednesday, to which the group responded with a standing ovation.

The big picture: The decision comes at the close of a particularly chaotic legislative session, in which House Republicans were divided on major issues like legalization of medical marijuana and non-tribal casinos.

  • And the discussions about the best way forward in the North Carolina House Speaker's race have played out amid federal GOP lawmakers' infighting over the next U.S. House Speaker that left Congress in a 22-day deadlock.
  • "Seeing what's happened in Washington, we don't want that here," Hall said. "There was no reason that we had to be that."

Context: Moore, who is widely expected to run for Congress, announced earlier this year that he won't run for re-election in the legislature, igniting a race to replace him that has been playing out behind the scenes for months.

  • Hall, a 30-something who quickly ascended to become a Republican leader and Moore's right-hand man when he was appointed as Rules chairman nearly three years ago, was one of a handful of lawmakers seen as a strong candidate for the job.

Between the lines: Republicans, who passed into law new political districts Wednesday, are almost assuredly guaranteed to win a majority in the House in the 2024 election, when every legislative seat is up for grabs.

  • That, along with the fact that Hall is backed by three of the top leaders in the House Republican caucus, make it highly likely that Hall will be elected as the next House Speaker.
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