House Speaker Becky Lockhart’s free path to a second term as speaker is getting a little rougher, as Rep. Mike Noel is throwing his cowboy hat into the race.
Noel made his announcement Saturday on “Red Meat Radio” — the Republican Legislature’s radio hybrid of Glenn Beck and The View, featuring Rep. Greg Hughes filling the role of Joy Behar.
“It’s not any indictment against the current speaker,” Noel said. “I feel like there is a reason we should only have a one-term speaker. I feel power begins to accumulate and I don’t feel that’s a good thing.”
Noel has been in the House for 10 years and has been a poster boy for the Legislature’s war with the federal government over public lands, oil development and roads access.
Lately, he has come under scrutiny for using his position to influence funding for water projects while simultaneously serving as executive director of the Kane County Water Conservancy District.
The House elections are scheduled for Thursday.
Hughes, the current House Majority Whip, is being challenged by Rep. Francis Gibson and Rep. Curt Webb. Reps. Jim Bird, Don Ipson and Ryan Wilcox are vying for the assistant majority whip spot.
-- Robert Gehrke