House Speaker Shap Smith has put out an impressive, if not exactly unexpected, list of endorsements in his bid for lieutenant governor. They include the House Majority Leader, the Assistant Majority Leader, plus the chairs of twelve House committees. He already had the backing of a thirteenth chair — himself, head of House Rules.
The only two Shapstainers are Agriculture Committee chair Carolyn Partridge and Republican Transportation chair Patrick Brennan.
Two of the Shapbackers, Tony Klein and Bill Botzow, had previously endorsed Rep. Kesha Ram, but that was before Smith entered the race.
Ram has lost a few other endorsements since Shap stepped in. At one point, she listed 20 Representatives as endorsers; that’s now down to 15.
It’s understandable that some House Dems would switch, especially committee chairs and members of Smith’s leadership team.
When Smith was running for governor, one of his biggest assets was the backing of the House Democratic caucus — or most of them, anyway. State representatives can form a substantial campaign framework, with connections in every part of the state. That’s crucial for a candidate whose name recognition was centered in the Statehouse.
When he re-entered the Lite-Guv race, one big question was whether he could draw the same level of caucus support. After all, quite a few House Dems had already endorsed Ram.
Well, question answered. He may not have a huge number of representatives on his side — at least not yet — but he’s got the most influential members on his side. That’s big.