Moore County, North Carolina Republican News & Views

  This is not the web site of the Moore Co. Republican Party!
The official web site of the Moore County, NC Republican Party is www.mooregop.com





Rep. Richard Morgan Tells a Whopper

Co-Speaker Rewrites History of "The Coalition"

This article in The Pilot reports that Rep. Richard Morgan claimed that his Republican opponents (the 55 Republicans who backed Republican Caucus nominees Daughtry and Holmes) had offered Democrat Jim Black sole control of the speakership:


Morgan said that had he not worked out the power-sharing arrangement, Republicans would have been frozen out of a leadership role. ... Morgan said in an interview this week.  “If this deal had not been cut, no Republican would have had a gavel.” ...
Morgan said that when negotiations began for the speakership in an evenly divided House, Rep. Leo Daughtry, one of Morgan’s longtime foes, was about ready to turn the House over to the Democrats.

That is an obvious lie.

The other Republicans say that what they actually offered Black was an even sharing of power between Republicans and Democrats.  But Morgan "outbid" the main Republican faction by making Black a better offer.

There are two reasons why it is obvious that what Rep. Morgan told The Pilot was a lie:

  • Morgan was not privy to the negotiation between the other Republican faction and the Democrats.  Whatever he says he knows about it is just speculation or hearsay.

  • If Rep. Black had an offer for sole control, he'd have taken it, obviously.  He's not an idiot!

However, what Morgan offered to Black is now known, for the most part, because that is the deal which the Democrats accepted:


How the Morgan-Black Coalition Actually Came to Be

After Rep. Mike Decker switched from Republican to Democrat, we were left with a 60-to-60 split in the NC House.  The 60 Democrats all supported Jim Black.  The 60 Republicans split into two factions.  The Republican House Caucus voted first for Leo Daughtry, and later for George Holmes.  55 Republicans supported the caucus nominees, but the "Morgan five" supported Richard Morgan.

Both factions attempted to negotiate power-sharing deals with the Democrats.  The Daughtry/Holmes faction offered the Democrats a straight 50-50 split, with Republican and Democrat co-speakers, and with Republican and Democrat co-chairmen of all committees.  But Morgan outbid them.  He offered the Democrats a better deal.  Morgan's offer put Democrats in control, and made himself their junior partner.

Democrat Rep. Jim Black, understandably, took the best offer.  (Note: Democrat Rep. Wm. Culpepper, who helped negotiate the bargain with Morgan, later confirmed that Morgan gave the Democrats a very good deal, as quoted in this story in The Pilot.)

The precise details of their deal are secret, but the general outline is now clear.  It is something like this:

  1. Black and Morgan would be co-speakers, and preside on alternate days.

  2. Democrat Rep. Wm. Culpepper would be sole chairman of the most powerful committee in the House, the Rules Committee.

  3. The House Rules would provide for the Democrat Rules Committee Chairman to control the calendar (which bills are voted upon, and when).  Note: in 1995-96, when Morgan was Rules Committee Chairman, he used this rule to stymie pro-life legislation (H624).

  4. The co-speakers would each have "veto power" over any bill that they deemed controversial (except, apparently, for the lottery, which they seemed ready to bring up if lottery supporters could find the votes to pass it - which, thankfully, they failed to manage).

  5. The co-speakers agreed to cover for each other, and not blame or embarrass each other for such "vetos."

  6. The Democrats would get more committee chairmanships than the Republicans.  Democrats got solo control of the chairmanships of 14 committees, Republicans got the chairmanships of only 4 committees, and 13 committees got Democrat and Republican co-chairmen.  (One of the 13 co-chaired committees subsequently ended up with two Republican co-chairmen when Rep. Decker switched his registration from Democrat back to Republican.)  See: Committee Chairmanships by Party and House Committees.
    Note: an earlier version of this document contained several errors: it referred to vice-chairmanships instead of chairmanships, and I had erroneously counted 16 (rather than 14) Democrat chairmen, and 11 (rather than 13) co-chaired committees.  I regret the errors.  -DB
The last 5 points are major concessions to the Democrats.

Points 2, 3 & 5, which give the Democrats sole control of the Rules Committee chairmanship, the calendar, and many other committee chairmanships, are the most obviously unfair to Republicans.  All bills are at the mercy of Democrat Rules Committee Chairman Bill Culpepper.

However, points 4 & 5, the "mutual, anonymous veto" provisions, are really just as important.  They sound fair and even-handed, but they aren't.  That's because in the 2002 election Republicans made big gains in both House and Senate, so under normal circumstances you would expect that Republicans would be on the offensive, trying to push our reforms through the legislature, and Democrats would be "playing defense," to slow us down.  So Democrats, naturally, have a lot more use for their "veto" than Republicans do.

-Dave Burton  2/21/2004   (corrected 3/1/2004)

* Note: Morgan told the same lie again two months later, in this Feb 20, 2004 Pilot article, which reports that:


Morgan... said the alternative advanced by his GOP opponents would have given "the Republican gavel away and settled for speaker pro tem..."


[mooregop.org home]